Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I never thought lime in beer was a good idea, much less worth suing over

Anheuser-Bush sues a little Canadian brewery over the use of limes and the color green to sell beer.


I know you American Corona drinkers shove a bit of lime in the bottle (it's my understanding this is rare in Mexico) and call it yummy but that's just wrong. And where's the salt?

Anyway, this can't be a serious lawsuit. They put lime (or lime flavor) in the beer and put a picture of a lime and use the color green (the color of ripe limes, duh) on the label. Now they think they can stop anyone else who puts lime in the beer from using a picture of a lime or using the color green?
I hate to say this, but I believe this is not a real issue, but just AB trying to use its deeper pockets to dominate the field by misuse of the legal system.

A term cannot be a trademark unless it is distinctive. AB may be the first to market this way, and they may have put a lot of money into marketing to make their product and label known, but in the end it's descriptive. It tells you what flavor is in the beer. A descriptive term can't be a valid trademark unless it has established a secondary meaning. When you see a picture of a lime and the color green, is your first thought really "Oh, Bud Light!" ? Didn't think so.

But those crafty Canadians aren't just using the logical descriptive of limes on their lime beer, they are also allegedly copying AB's advertising.
"Anheuser also objected to Brick’s use of a Web site saying like its own Web site for Bud Light Lime, it used pictures of young, attractive people wearing bathing suits."

That's right! Women in bikinis to sell beer! Ingenious! I bet nobody ever thought of that before.

Seriously, Anheuser Bush, don't you have anything better to do?
one newspaper source


  1. Cool post Vince. I like your blog. Keep it up. So how much does a suit like this endanger the smaller company financially? Could just the process bankrupt them even before the lawsuit concludes? You're right. The lawsuit is absurd but could AB be persuing it for other reasons like killing their competition?

  2. One of the factors here is that Red Baron Lime is a direct competitor and is cheaper.
    (I'm going to assume both are pale lagers though I don't drink either - but pale lager is usually the beer some people put lime in)

    My guess off the top of my head is that AB is hoping Brick will agree to raise their price if AB drops the suit. They would likely lose more money in winning the suit than they would by losing some sales to AB, especially if they raise their price on the sales they do make.