Late last night, NorthGate Brewing—a brewery scheduled to open next month in Northeast—posted a statement on its blog alleging some Minnesota not-so-nice behavior by recently-opened Longfellow restaurant Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub, reports Vita.mn. According to NorthGate Brewing's statement, written by co-founder Adam Sjogren, lawyers representing Northbound Smokehouse have sent the new brewery two cease-and-desist letters since August requesting that NorthGate change its name because of potential confusion over the "deceptively similar" names" (the specific words in contention being "North" and "brewing", according to Sjogren).
NorthGate Brewing, however, isn't having any of it. "In a market where the biggest craft brewers don't produce as much as Budweiser spills, I think it's shameful that a small brewpub is trying to litigate like a big-timer," Sjogren wrote in the brewery's statement.
The statement also says that NorthGate registered its name with the Minnesota Secretary of State on February 3, 2012, and did not become aware of Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub until June. According to NorthGate's statement, Northbound filed for its name on February 23, 2012 and it was approved on June 10. (Northbound had their Grand Opening on September 20.)
The statement also points out that NorthGate will only be a production brewery, meaning that it will distribute its beer and sell growlers on-site, but will not have a taproom or serve food like Northbound. In the statement, Sjogren also writes that NorthGate and Northbound reached a verbal agreement in June, with NorthGate saying that they would not distribute their beer in south Minneapolis for one year to allow Northbound to establish itself. "Apparently, this courtesy on my part made it appear as though I was a pushover that could be bullied into giving up my name," Sjogren wrote. He continued, saying he and his partner, Todd Slininger, had had enough. "Todd and I refuse to be bullied."