West Sixth Brewing says it is being sued by Magic Hat parent for allegedly copying #9 logo

magic hat vs west sixth

UPDATE: Magic Hat has responded to West Sixth’s claims with its side of the story.

(Lexington, KY) – West Sixth Brewing announced on Tuesday that it is being sued by Magic Hat’s parent company for allegedly copying its #9 beer logo. West Sixth has responded, in part, with a lengthy blog post and petition as well as acquiring the NoMoreMagicHat.com domain name.

Because the West Sixth website is ill-prepared for the traffic it has received over the past hour, we’ve taken the liberty to re-post below.

Hi. We’re West Sixth Brewing, a socially-conscious craft brewery that opened last year in Lexington, Kentucky. You can read more about us here and here.

We’ve had a great first year! Since opening last April, we’ve expanded our brewery a couple of times, added a second canned beer to our lineup, and have given over $10,000 to local charities in our area.

Unfortunately, our success has also made us a few enemies. And this week, one of those enemies got so mad, they decided to try and force us out of business by filing a silly and frivolous lawsuit against us.

Before we go any further, we do want to let you know that none of this will affect in any way our ability to continue brewing the great beers that you all have come to love. So, don’t worry about that at all!

Magic Hat is a brewery originally based out of Vermont. While they have some craft roots, they’ve been bought and sold a couple times since 2010, and are now owned by a company called Cerveceria Costa Rica. They’re claiming that we intentionally copied their logo, and that has caused them “irreparable harm”, enough that they’re asking for not only damages but also all our profits up until this point (little do they know that well, as a startup company, there wasn’t any, oops!).

Now, we all know that their claims are just a little bit silly:

  • Our logos were professionally designed by a designer in Lexington called Cricket Press who has a long history of fantastic and creative logo designs.
  • Their federal trademark is simply for the text “# 9”, and our logo contains neither a “#” nor a “9”. (our favorite part of their argument is where they call a 6 an “inverted 9”. Yeah, and did you know that a “p” is just an inverted “d”? They’re totally the same letter!)
  • Finally, our logo includes the words “West Sixth Brewing”. We think that makes it pretty clear.

We’ve talked to several lawyers, and they all agree there’s no legal merit to their lawsuit. And they’ve got fancy legal council out of New York, so they must be hearing the same thing.

In fact, we tried to reach out to them individually to see if there was any way to resolve the amicably, but to no surprise, no one ever called us back.

So, they clearly have another motive – which must be to make us spend so much money defending our actions that we have no other recourse than to cave to their demands.

Why would they do that? After all, they don’t sell all that much beer here in Kentucky. We don’t really know – although we have our suspicions. There’s clearly been someone in Lexington spreading the rumor that we were “about to get sued” – I even heard it from a checkout clerk at the grocery store! So, we’re guessing that someone in the area is prompting the lawsuit in order to try and hurt us locally.

We think it’s bad business to roll over. After all, we’ve spent a year defending our brand, and we’ve heard from tons of folks how much they love our logo.

We’re going to fight. And, we could use your help.

How can you help?

  1. First, drink some West Sixth Beer. Come by the taproom for a pint! Ask for it on draft at your favorite restaurant or bar! Buy a 6-pack! You’ll enjoy the beer, and we’ll fight even harder on your behalf.
  2. Second, will you sign our petition on the right to tell Magic Hat “No More” and drop their lawsuit? We plan to boycott their beer until they do, but will gladly toast them with a #9 when they drop it. When you sign the petition below, it will send an email with your comments to Kimberly Markert, the person who signed the lawsuit!
  3. If you’re a retailer, will you add your name to the petition as well, letting them know that you’re a retailer and don’t support their actions?
  4. And finally, will you tell all of your craft beer friends and coworkers about this ridiculous action by Magic Hat?

We know that as a company owned by an international conglomerate, the only value Magic Hat will listen to is their pocketbook, so that’s the only way we know to get them to stop.

When we collect 20,000 signatures, we’ll print them all out and bring them up to their US headquarters (which as best we can tell are now in New York – they’re not even in Vermont anymore) to deliver them in person. They won’t be able to ignore us then!

And a special note to any Magic Hat employees or management who may be reading this: if you want to reach out and have a reasonable discussion on this matter, we’re happy to at any time.

Also, if you’re an attorney or anyone else who thinks you could be of help, please do get in touch!

Thanks, we really appreciate it!

21 thoughts on “West Sixth Brewing says it is being sued by Magic Hat parent for allegedly copying #9 logo

  1. While I hate litigation, the logo is very similar to Magic Hat’s with the star and everything a part of it. It will be interesting to see how this is worked out.

  2. what a joke. West Sixth is infinitely better than magic hat. Thats why they mad

  3. I’m a huge fan of West Sixth and I hope they don’t have to spend a penny on this BS lawsuit. They are good guys and nothing about their logo has a “#9″ in it. This is a case of a big bully picking on a little guy simply because they think they can, nothing more. Best of luck to West Sixth. I’m going to snag a few sixers of their IPA when I get off just because of this.

  4. it was obviously copied. magic hat makes terrible beer, that doesn’t change the obvious fact.

  5. It doesn’t look anything like Magic Hat’s logo to me…. different colors, different number (maybe the numbers are in the same “font”, but that’s a ridiculous thing to base a law suit on), There are no swirls in the the West 6th’s logo, which are everywhere in Magic Hat’s… and no leaves or butterfly wings or whatever either. @Marvin Kinney: even the “star” looks different: West 6th’s looks more like a compass rose than a star, which is probably appropriate given the “West” in their name. Seems like a gratuitous lawsuit to me. Good luck to West Sixth.

  6. When I first say West Sixth’s logo when they opened my first thought was it looked similar to Magic Hat’s. Stupid lawsuit but I can see the similarities.

  7. “Obviously copied”? “The logo is very similar”?

    Using “font” in “quotes” and calling it “ridiculous”?

    Well…. I disagree. IMO these are two totally different logos. Different colors, different fonts, different names. Basing a lawsuit on the fact that they both have a number and a star would be like the Longhorns suing TDOT for using orange & white pylons at construction sites.

  8. I’d love to see exactly how their copyright reads and what all it encompasses.To me, even from a legal standpoint, while there could be *some* similarities…I am not confused on which logo belongs to which company. What I really want to know more about as well, is the “irreparable harm” that a local microbrew is causing a larger, semi-national company and what their claim is that the logo is the reason for possible loss of customers. *gasp* such loss of customers couldn’t possibly be because West 6th may have a better beer or even people preferring a micro beer that is from a local company and are supporting the local economy. Nope, those reasons couldn’t be valid at all. I do think there is somewhat of a redflag here by targeting a small, localized company. Also, was a “cease and desist” letter done prior to filing a suit? Lots of factors to be considered here. Will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I would hate to see a good, local company go away….

  9. I never cared much for Magic Hat as a beer. Now I care even less for them as a company. Just another reason to buy another six of West 6th’s IPA.

  10. I can’t believe people are going against Magic Hat on them. That logo is straight jacked, and the designer should be absolutely ashamed of himself. I mean, if you hate magic hat because their beer is pretty sub-standard, I get that, but they’re not in the wrong here.

  11. They’re different numbers!! That isn’t easy enough to tell apart???

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  13. goodness the 6 looks more like an upside down g than a 9. this is STUPID!!

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  15. The fact is, the two logos bear a strong resemblance to each other. The first time I saw the West Sixth logo, I assumed it was a Magic Hat product of some sort. Funnily enough, due to this confusion I never gave West Sixth another thought…as MH isn’t my cup of tea.
    Perhaps it would behoove both parties to see the label changed.

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