Staff reporter- Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
The Northeast Minneapolis craft brewer got a cease-and-desist letter from the MPAA shortly after it filed to trademark the names of its signature beers a few months ago, 612Brew co-founder Robert Kasak said.
MPAA spokesperson Kate Bedingfield confirmed the film studio organization sent 612Brew such a letter.
Kasak said the disputed centered on the word “rated”, which the MPAA trademarked as a part of its film-rating brand.
“[Our beer] could have been PG, PG-13 or R,” Kasak said. “It didn’t matter. As long as it contained the word ‘rated’ it would still get flagged.”
The brewery argued that the two businesses were in completely different industries, to no avail. Ultimately, 612Brew decided to rename the beer “Unrated,” which is surprisingly not trademarked. The change was effective Jan. 1.
Kasak doesn’t expect sales to suffer.
“It’s going to take some time for people to get used to it, but it will be OK,” Kasak said. “It’s a great beer and they’ll drink it regardless of the name.”
Fortunately, the letter arrived before the company printed the old name on thousands of cans, Kasak noted. 612Brew is in the process of canning its top three beers for the first time, with the aim of releasing pop-tops by mid-February.
612Brew’s describes Unrated as a Rye India Pale Ale “for the Minnesota hopheads.”
“West Coast IPA meets Midwest Rye,” the brewery says of Unrated on its website. “This Rye IPA greets you with a burst of citrus hop aroma and tempts you with the spice from the rye. 612Brew’s most full-bodied and hoppy beer, yet easy enough that your mom would like it. If your mom is awesome.”
Clare Kennedy writes about food and drink.