Hancocks Comments on Growler

We recently emailed Hancocks to ask them to drop their application for the trademark of “Growler” –
[quote style=”1″]It recently came to our attention that Hancocks has applied to trademark the term “Growler” in the classifications of Bottles and Beer. We don’t think it’s valid for an organisation to trademark a term that has been in common use in New Zealand for many years because it restricts others from using a term which they have been using in the past.

We raised the issue on our website http://www.soba.org.nz/wordpress/campaigns/what-is-a-growler and have had a fair amount of response from people who have been using the term or know of the term in reference to bottled beer.

I am writing to ask that you as the CEO of Hancocks kindly withdraw your application for the trademark for the benefit of New Zealand beer drinkers.[/quote]

Joe Jakicevich, the owner of Hancocks responded –

[quote style=”1″]After the debacle with DB and Radler, I was so annoyed that I jumped on line to check other “Old” beer names and was surprised that “Growler” was not protected. So what are my intentions?

I want to protect the name from  corporate organisations and then try to control the use of the name in the market place to best promote craft beers in NZ. This is something that SOBA should be proactive about? We have stores around the country using the name growler with 2L pet bottles pouring standard commercial beer. Is this what we want to see? I don’t.

Hancock’s is proudly 100% family owned and operated and has helped build many brands for the enjoyment of New Zealanders. We operate in a market place where about 85% of the market place is controlled by multi international conglomerates.  Their interest is in profits not what is best for New Zealand. Hancock’s has built a strong reputation for its integrity and trust  within the industry. The company was founded in 1859 by Thomas Hancock who built the first Larger House in New Zealand, no other company has such a rich history in beer as we do.

I will continue with the trademark application and upon it being granted I would like to then gift it to SOBA and help you build some rules of use by the Craft Beer community.[/quote]

We have since responded to Joe declining his kind offer to gift the trademark to SOBA –

[quote style=”1″]We would like to thank you for your offer of gifting SOBA the trademark for Growler in the situation that it is granted to you. However, because we feel that the trademark should not have been applied for, or granted in the first place, we have to decline your offer.

We feel that it would be a double standard for us to disagree with DB trademarking Radler based on the arguments we put forward at the time, to then take ownership of another beer trademark we regard as well known – even it is was for a more noble purpose.[/quote]

Joe then followed up –

[quote style=”1″]I respect soba’s position. I won’t withdraw the application and will fight the position. I will offer the registration as outlines to all true craft brewers. It is the system and I believe this is the right position to take.[/quote]

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