Written by Dean Zarbaugh
Today David announced he was battling Goliath. In one corner, Greg Koch and Stone Brewing Company. In the other, MillerCoors and their Keystone products.
The announcement comes via Twitter. In a video statement, Stone Brewing Company co-founder Greg Koch announced that they will be suing big ol’ MillerCoors for “intentionally creating confusion in the marketplace” with their branding of Keystone and Keystone Light beer.
Big Beer conglomerates like MillerCoors are losing ground in the battle against the plethora of craft breweries popping up all over the country. Sales are declining as consumers look to craft beer for a fresh, flavorful, high-quality product that they can be proud to hold in their hand, knowing that their money helps support a local business run by people with a true passion for the craft. Breweries have been popping up all over the country as a way to help towns hit hard by economic woes. So it’s especially troubling when people try to mess with that.
MillerCoors has decided to play a fast and loose with things, as evidenced in how they brand their Keystone products. They have conveniently dropped the “Key” from the name, leaving STONE LIGHT in big bold letters.
Photo Credit: Stone Brewing
This beer, placed on a shelf with true Stone Brewing products might confuse non-craft-enthusiast buyers. Imagine a friend or loved one you know who isn’t as up to date with the beer industry wanting to surprise you, a craft enthusiast with some of your favorite Stone beer, only to return with Keystone Light, a beer you couldn’t be paid to drink. That’s exactly what MillerCoors is hoping will happen with this blatant rebranding.
Sometimes, even craft enthusiasts will pick up a can before ultimately turning it to reveal the true nature of the product inside, and placing it back on the shelf to continue to gather dust.
As Greg mentions in the video, MillerCoors probably thought that “they had no other choice”. Boy were they wrong. It will be interesting to see how things play out. I wish Greg, Steve and the entire Stone crew the best of luck in their David vs. Goliath endeavor. It’s nice to see someone standing up for the little guys.
I will continue to follow this story and provide any updates when they happen.