Currently, the big story in the craft beer world is the “Vermonster v. Monster” lawsuit. In a nut shell, Rock Art Brewery (a small craft brewery with only 7 employees) out of Vermont was told by Hansen Beverage Co. to cease and desist production of their barleywine. Hansen Beverage Co.’s arguement is that consumers may confuse Rock Art Brewery’s Vermonster with their Monster energy drink (a brand of Anheuser-Busch, I might add) because of the similarity in their names.
You may have your own opinion on whether this law suit seems frivolous. I happen to think it is. One thing for sure is that a small brewer like Matt Nadeau does not have deep enough pockets to fight a huge corporation like Hansen Beverage Co. And that is all they need to win. Another point: isn’t the word “monster” public domain?
For a video explaining the lawsuit against Rock Art Brewery click on Vermonster vs. Monster. To visit their website follow this link http://www.rockartbrewery.com/. If you wish to sign a petition against the law suit click here. If you want to see Copper Canyon’s Todd Parker’s own brand of ginger vengeance click here. Todd is awesome. I’m glad he calls Michigan home.
All of this got me thinking. I seem to remember a lot of monsters throughout history. These monsters have no problem with Rock Art’s Vermonster or Monster energy drink co-opting their name and hopefully when they call for a jury of their peers, some of them will sit on that jury. Here are some of my favorite monsters:
Monster Island: Home of Godzilla, king of all monsters. Other residents include Rodan and Mothra and that jack ass spider that tried to kill Godzilla’s son in the movie aptly named “Son of Godzilla”. Clearly the best of all the Godzilla movies. It took out the courtship in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” and inserted a man in a rubber suit fighting puppets. Now that I’m a father, the most poignant part is when Godzilla lays down for a nap and his son runs off. Which just goes to show, you can’t take your eyes off of kids for a second…Best movie on parenting ever.
The Monster at the End of This Book: This was my favorite book when I was a kid. Spoiler Alert! Grover is the monster at the end of this book. I’m sure some would say it’s a metaphor for humans’ fear of the unknown. I just liked seeing Grover get ran through an emotional roller coaster.
Monster Horror Chiller Theater: This is one of my favorite bits from SCTV. Anchorman Floyd Roberson played the part of Count Floyd and he would introduce scary movies. They were never scary though and he would half-heartedly try to sell them as if they were. The best of the movies had John Candy’s Dr. Tongue in them doing 3D movies. His “3D House of Pancakes” inspired Maggie’s first laugh. Instead of thrusting a plate of pancakes toward her I thrusted my face in what I called “3D House of Big Face Daddy.” One would think that would be scary… but she laughed.
MST3K Monster A Go Go: This is the worst movie I ever saw. It doesn’t even have camp value. I have seen it a few times and I seriously can never remember the plot. To me, that is the number one sign of a bad movie. If my life depended on it I couldn’t come up with more than the fact that I know there’s an alien in it. Joel and the robots make the movie fun to watch. They also make fun of “The Pina Colada Song” which really has it coming.
The Monroe Monster: Apparently there was a big foot type creature that roamed the northern part of Monroe County back when my generation’s parents watched submarine races on the shores of Lake Erie. I don’t buy it. A big hairy mutant living in the woods of Frenchtown? Note: this is before Fermi 2 went online. Stories of seeing the monster ran rampant in the 1960s and one story even included physical contact. It reached into a vehicle and punched a lady in the eye.
Mecha Streisand: This is one of my favorite episodes of South Park. A spoof of my favorite movies when I was a kid. I loved when they had monster week on the 4 o’clock movie. Here they not only played Godzilla but they also played Gamera movies.
In the South Park episode Barbara Streisand is a Mecha-Godzilla type creature that destroys everything in her path in a quest for more power and fame. Only Robert Smith of The Cure (as a Mothra/Jet Jaguar like creature) and his “Robot Punch” can stop her.
In this case, Monster the energy drink is using its size and deep pockets to bully a small craft brewer. Is their goal to protect their name, run them out of business or to steal a chance for Rock Art build brand identity? I don’t know but picking on an operation with 7 employees is a great way to live up to the name “Monster”.