The Vermonster slays corporate Monster

In a rare David versus Goliath-type victory, Rock Art brewery has reached an agreement with Hansen Beverage that will allow it to continue selling its ‘Vermonster’ beer.

In a rare David versus Goliath-type victory, Rock Art brewery has reached an agreement with Hansen Beverage Company that will allow it to continue selling its ‘Vermonster’ beer, provided Rock Art stays out of the energy drink business, of course.

As you may know, last month Rock Art (a microbrewery based in Morrisville, Vermont) received a cease and desist letter from Hansen, which produces Monster Energy Drink. Among other things, the letter demanded that Rock Art stop selling Vermonster, because it might be confused with Hansen’s widely-recognized energy drink. Never mind that Vermonster is a beer and Monster is an energy drink, and that the labels bear no similarity to each other.

Not surprisingly, the corporate giant’s aggressive action backfired. About the only thing Hansen succeeded in doing was providing a ton of free publicity to Rock Art, which drew attention to its plight via the local and national media, then stepped back and watched fans take to Facebook (and other social networking sites) to call for a boycott of Monster. To make matters worse for Hansen, many stores in Vermont—a state with a decidedly independent streak—pulled Monster from their shelves.

No doubt looking to minimize the damage to its brand, Hansen called off its lawyers, going so far as to drop its demand to be reimbursed for its legal fees.