Feuding Gingers: Fight Over Drinks Erupts Before St. Paddy’s Day

Update: Case settled. Cheers!

Restaurateur turned booze-entrepreneur Kieran Folliard is taking spirit and wine giant Pernod Ricard, the parent company of Jameson whiskey, to court alleging violations of the Lanham Act as well as common law trademark infringement.

As reported in the Star Tribune, the dispute centers on Folliard’s trademarked drink – a mixture of Irish whiskey and ginger ale with lemon and lime – “The Big Ginger” which is specially named for the following purpose:

To suggest and convey the key branding messages of the term “big” (relating to “larger than life”) and “ginger” (i.e., fiery redheads, Irish heritage, big jovial personalities)

Folliard, who used to own parts of several Irish restaurants in the Twin Cities, including The Local, The Liffey, Kierans, and Cooper Pub, at one time had a very successful and lucrative relationship with Pernod Ricard – The Local was the largest single on-site seller of Jameson in the world. Recently, however, their relationship broke off and Folliard started his own whiskey company, 2 Gingers. Now, Folliard, on behalf of his new whiskey company alleges that Jameson Whiskey infringed on his “The Big Ginger” trademark by promoting its drink, the “Jameson Big Ginger.”  This is not to be confused with The Angry Ginger.

Similar to the David v. Goliath fight that ML previously covered in Lion’s Tap v. McDonalds, this case pits a smaller local interest against a multinational behemoth. In this case, Folliard seeks injunctive relief to protect his trademarked (and delicious) cocktail.

With St. Patrick’s Day closely approaching, it will be interesting to see if the sides start gearing up for a litigation fight or there’s a quick resolution to this fight that will leave everyone involved saying Sláinte.

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