It is inevitable that in a rapidly expanding ecosystem such as microdistilled gins that conflict may arise. However, one thing that has been surprising to me is the frequency with which gins distilled in near complete isolation of one another have stumbled across the exact same name. Inevitably, as your name is your identity and how consumers will know your gin, its is important to get it right. In most cases, distillers differentiate themselves with flavors and botanicals to standout. But sometimes those differences aren’t enough [or more accurately, lawyers worry those might not be enough] and two brands take the dispute to court to fight for their name. Here is a short list of some of the more notable gin trademark disputes from the last few years:
2011: Brooklyn, NY and NOT Brooklyn, NY
Perhaps the most famous of the gin trademark lawsuits. This one arose when Breuckelen Distilling [located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York] trademarked the name “Brecukelen” [pronounced exactly like the borough] and Miami based distiller Angel Santos trademarked the name “Brooklyn Gin,” which although it is not made in the borough, uses the borough’s identity as its inspiration for the bottle and design.
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As part of the “50 States of Gin” weekend we made two special visits to New York City area distillers who have developed their own versions of two variations on gin. The first is “Aged Gin” and we visited with Brad Estabrooke whose hopes to have an aged variation of his flagship Glorious Gin out soon. The second visit was with New York Distillery for a look at Navy Strength Gin.
Legal Department Here, thought we should point out that Gin is different from other spirits in that it is not permitted to talk about “age,” “years” or an “aging” process.
That is quite technically correct. In the strictest sense of the guidelines for gin, “age” is not considered an aspect of the spirit, and therefore how it is handled in terms of bottling, labeling, and selling is subject to a different level of scrutiny. So if anyone asks, when I say “Aged Gin” you tell the lawyers I’m saying “New Oak Flavored Gin.” Back to the show.
Oh and one more note, every gin will also get their own dedicated full review quite soon too.
Roundhouse Gin from Colorado. It was rather smooth, and was perhaps my favorite of the tasting.
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I have been excited to try this gin since the day I read that two gin distilleries were opening in Brooklyn, NY. The New Yorker in me was thrilled that a craft, seemingly regulated out of existence in urban areas, was coming back to the city I lived in.The gates opened this past spring, and a short couple of weeks ago I finally picked up a bottle.
The first thing I noticed was the lovely bottle complete with a classy wax-sealed top. Anxious to try, I grabbed a knife, slit the wax and poured myself a gin and tonic. The first thing that I noticed was the powerful scent of citrus. The bottled smelled noticeably more of citrus than many other gins I’ve tried – but it wasn’t just the smell, it was the components of the smell, and Brecuklen is the only gin I know of where grapefruit stands so boldly.
The grapefruit is hardly a secret, nor are any of the other botanicals in this gin. Brad Estabrooke, the distiller himself, told the Village Voice that in addition to juniper and lemon, rosemary and ginger are also in there.
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