Mean Monster

Monster energy drink files cease and desist letter against small Vermont brewer

Brewers and beer enthusiasts have responded in huge numbers to protest a “cease and desist” letter against Rock Art Brewery, a small brewery in Vermont.

Supporters are voicing their objections to the makers of Monster energy drink, Hansen Beverage Company, for going after a small entrepreneur over the right to trademark the name of a strong barley wine aptly named “Vermonster”.

The “cease and desist” letter demands Rock Art stop selling its Vermonster beer, drop its effort to get a federal trademark for the name, and pay Hansen’s lawyer fees. The letter says Monster has worked hard to establish its brand and Rock Arts use of the name Vermonster “will undoubtedly create a likelihood of confusion and/or dilute the distinctive quality of Hansen’s Monster marks.”

Matt Nadeau, founder/owner of Rock Art Brewing consulted several lawyers who agreed that the microbrewery could legally win a court battle. However, to do so Rock Art Brewing will face legal fees starting at $65,000. Matt and his wife Renee who also works at the brewery face losing all they own if they choose to go to court against a company reportedly worth $1 billion dollars.

Matt tells the compelling on

“When I pledged allegiance to this country as a kid in grade school I don’t remember the end of it saying “and justice for all who have the deepest pockets,'” says Matt Nadeau.”You got five people saying I’m right, I don’t think it should be coming to the point where they take everything.”

As Rock Art Brewing prepares for their ‘David versus Goliath’ battle, Rene Nadeau had this to say through a Facebook update:

“The easiest and best way to support us and any other craft business is by purchasing their product and let everyone know about the beers you enjoy. That keeps us doing what we want to do…brew the beers! I truly thank everyone who has offered their …support! Cheers! Renee”


  1. South County says

    What a bunch of horsesh*t, if I remember correctly Dogfish is fighting the same crap with ABINBEV over his “Punkin ale”. How can one confuse a tooth rotting energy stimulant with a beer brewed in the NE. I hope he can duke it out.

    Correction after reading more on the subject, apparently the issue (by admission of Hasen’s/monster rep.) is not entirely with the energy drink but rather that Monster intends to enter into the beer market and Rock Art who rightfully has accomplished that first stands in the way.

  2. nwcw2001 says

    I wish that there was some kind of “little guy” defense fund, to help protect them from this kind of crap. They MAY want to get into the the beer market and this small brewery stands in the way IN THE FUTURE? Deepest pockets makes right I guess.

  3. kai says

    In some ways that’s even more ridiculous. “Hey, you’re infringing on our future market!” “Mooom, I just hit him back first!”

  4. v2comp says

    nwcw2001 wrote: I wish that there was some kind of “little guy” defense fund, to help protect them from this kind of crap. They MAY want to get into the the beer market and this small brewery stands in the way IN THE FUTURE? Deepest pockets makes right I guess.

    not what I think is right, but maybe they would be better off to SELL Monster Energy the name for a very large price instead of fighting it out. im sure Monster would rather buy the name than have a public relations nightmare on their hands.
    Just an idea…………..;)

  5. BMXFRANK says

    Apparently folks Hansen has dropped thier cease and dicest (sp) against Vermonster and Rock Art Brewing. The “Little Guy Fund” someone mentioned does exist. Its the voice of people. Enough people called Monster and the distributors in the VT area that carry both Monster energy dring and Rock Art beers dropped the energy drink! This and many small factors gave the little guy a win without having to go to court.

    I also wonder if Hansen realized that this was just the begining. If they went after Rock Art they would soon have to go after Brooklyn and Monster BarelyWine. Brooklyn I believe is a bigger company and may have a larger audience. Regardless of the reasons, its good to see “David” slay “Goliath” in todays day and age. Cheers!

  6. GarySped says

    Like I have said before who has a right to take an established word or more significantly a familiy name and call it their own? No one – it is not theirs to take. If my name were McDonald and I wanted to sell hamburgers I should be able to open up McDonald’s Hamburgers as long as I don’t steal the arches or other logo’s. [And by the way should it not be Krocdonald’s? – Look out for the big Kroc!] If two people want to make Pumpkin Ale as long as it is X’s or Y’s pumpkin ale who in the heck cares? Again as long as my labels are not so close as to mislead customers as to whose beer they are drinking. Or as long as the taste is the difference.

    It is time someone stuck up for their family name and won – then the game of who owns what name will take on a new twist. You can’t take historical names or words and call them your own unless you invented them or are prepared to get up on your horse, marshal your troops and wage kingdom wars.

  7. admin says

    The fight between Monster and Vermonster has been settled

    A small Vermont brewery that makes a beer called Vermonster and the Nasdaq-traded maker of Monster energy drinks settled a trademark dispute that prompted some stores to pull the larger company’s beverages in protest.

    The energy drinks-maker, Hansen Beverage Co., sent a cease-and-desist letter last month to Rock Art Brewery, telling it to stop using the name and to pay for its attorneys’ fees.

    On Tuesday, the two sides reached a settlement that allows Rock Art to continue to market the brew, an American barley wine, anywhere in the country. In return, Rock Art agreed not to sell energy drinks, which it never intended to do, said Douglas Riley, a Rock Art lawyer.

    “It’s phenomenal,” said Matt Nadeau, who owns the Morrisville brewery with his wife. “It happened so fast. That’s what’s just amazing about this new power of traditional media, combined with social media, what tools that we have as Americans to fight against big power.”

    Nadeau said he had been told by five trademark attorneys that he could probably win in court, but that fighting for the name would likely bankrupt him.

    Nadeau aired the dispute on the Internet, framing it as an example of a large corporation trying to squash a small business owner. Word of the dispute prompted stores in Vermont, New York, Maine and Connecticut to pull the energy drink from their shelves, Nadeau said.

    “It struck a nerve with everybody when they saw and heard the story,” Nadeau said. “They were like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m not confused by these products. What do mean this guy’s going to lose his business if he decides to fight for the name that’s legally his?'”

    U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stepped in, urging Hansen to back off.

  8. SRB says

    admin wrote: ….U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stepped in, urging Hansen to back off.

    Way to go Bernie!!