CINCINNATI -- The new year is going to start out with a new look and name for one of Cincinnati’s local breweries.
Double Barrel Brewery will be changing its name to Bad Tom Brewing.
Co-owner Sean Smith said they were served with a cease and desist letter from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. over the “Double Barrel” title. Firestone Walker produces a beer known as “Double Barrel Ale.”
The Bad Tom brewers said they decided not to fight the change rather take the matter to court as the cost of litigation would be prohibitive.
WCPO spoke with the co-owner of Firestone Walker, David Walker, about the issue.
He said his brewery was worried about possible confusion in the market over the Double Barrel name.
He said Double Barrel Ale makes up about 40 percent of his production at the brewery. The beer has also won two gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival.
Walker said his company has trademarked the Double Barrel name since 1996.
“To have another brewery use that name -- and the logo is very similar -- it just became confusing,” Walker said.
He said once his company made contact with Double Barrel and made their case, things have been amicable.
Walker said a similar instance happened to his company. They produced a beer called “Abacus” and after it became popular, they were served with a letter from a wine maker who already had a wine out under that name. In that instance, his company simply reversed the name to “Sucaba.”
“We all have wild and wooly imaginations, so stuff like this is bound to happen. But we can all be cool about it,” Walker said.
Both brewers said that with the explosion of craft beer in American, instances like this are bound to happen with increasing frequency.
Smith said since they are currently analyzing their current business and looking to evolve and grow as a company; so the moment also felt right for a name change and new branding to better connect with fans.
The brewers decided to go with “Bad Tom” as the Bad Tom brown ale is their signature brew and the product that many people identify their brand with.
The name is taken from Smith’s great-great uncle “Bad” Tom Smith who was an outlaw in the 1800s.
Smith said the brewery has also been approached by local authors and film producers about Bad Tom Smith in recent months. A film and book about the notorious Eastern Kentucky outlaw is available about the brewery’s taproom.
The brewers said fans of their beer can look forward to a new look and more as they move toward increased distribution in the coming year.