Trademark Law

Whiskey Maker's Suit Claims Jameson Is Violating His 'Big Ginger' Drink Trademark

A Minneapolis area whiskey producer hopes to stop the Jameson Irish whiskey company from marketing a drink called the “Big Jameson Ginger” based on allegations it infringes his own trademarked cocktail name.

Kieran Folliard owned several pubs in the Twin Cities before he began making whiskey, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. In 2005, he began selling “The Big Ginger” at his establishments, and in 2009 he trademarked the name. The drink is made with Irish whiskey and ginger ale, and garnished with wedges of lime and lemon.

Folliard claims in a federal lawsuit filed in Minneapolis that Jameson owner Pernod Ricard once offered him $200,000 for the right to the Big Ginger name, but he rejected it as inadequate. He sued after learning earlier this month of promotions for the “Big Jameson Ginger” at area bars.

At one time, Folliard’s pub, The Local, was Pernod Ricard’s largest on-site seller of Jameson whiskey in the world. But Folliard said rising whiskey prices were cutting into profit margins, and he replaced Jameson with his own house brand. He later sold his interest in the bars partly because of laws that bar distillers from being bar owners.

Folliard told the Star Tribune he thought he had to sue because of the strike on his livelihood. “This is not fun for me,” he said. “Nobody wants to enter court.”

Hat tip to Pat’s Papers.

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