Just days after we told you about the grand opening of Fate Brewing Company's second location, the Scottsdale-based company finds itself in the middle of a legal battle.
On Wednesday, a Colorado brewery also called Fate Brewery filed suit against Scottsdale's Fate Brewery in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit accuses Fate Brewing in Scottsdale of trademark infringement and demands the company stop using the Fate name and pay damages to the Colorado company.
According to the lawsuit, Fate Brewing Company in Boulder has held the trademark for the Fate Brewing Company name since the summer of 2012 — before Fate Brewing opened its brewpub in Scottsdale during winter 2012. Fate in Colorado began serving beer to the public in January 2013 but didn't open its first brewpub until March.
Prior to the filing of the lawsuit this week, the two companies had been in contact regarding the Fate Brewing Company trademark, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says Fate in Scottsdale sent a letter to the Colorado company back in August 2012 "demanding that Fate Restaurants [in Colorado] cease use of the Fate Brewing Company mark." According to the lawsuit, representatives of both companies have even met in person and corresponded in writing in hopes of reaching a compromise. Discussions, however, have been discontinued since late 2013.
The lawsuit claims that in the passing years, there have been "multiple instances of public confusion" between the two companies. The most obvious instances of such confusion occurred at the Great American Beer Festival, an annual event held in Denver during the fall. The lawsuit says that in 2013 and in 2014, both Fate Brewing Company in Scottsdale and Boulder poured beer samples at the event, and that "a large number of festival patrons . . . were confused as to which 'Fate Brewing Company' beers they were tasting."
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The impetus for the lawsuit, however, appears to be the opening of Fate South, the second, even larger brewpub that opened in South Scottsdale last week. The new location will allow Fate Brewing Company in Scottsdale to produce 3,500 to 4,000 barrels of craft brews annually — a huge increase from the 511 barrels the brewery was able to produce last year.
Fate Brewery in Scottsdale is owned by Steve McFate; the brewery's name is taken from McFate's last name. The brewery is known locally for producing beers at breakneck speed — in the past two years, Fate's produced a new beer nearly every week.
Fate Brewery in Boulder is owned by Mike Lawinski, who, according to the lawsuit, chose the name Fate "because of his belief that fate had led to an opportunity for him to pursue his dream of opening a brewpub and brewery . . ."
In an e-mail this morning, McFate says he's unable to comment on the lawsuit right now. Lawinski hasn't yet responded to an e-mail request for comment.