Locals fight for their beer

When a billion-dollar beverage corporation issues cease and desist notices to a small Vermont brewery, one can’t help but conjure up images of David and Goliath. As in the original myth, this story ends with the underdog victorious, but unlike David, Rock Art Brewery didn’t stand alone in their battle with Hansen Beverage Co., makers of the Monster energy drinks.The Cynic therefore congratulates the residents of Vermont.  Under pressure from boycotts led by liquor store owners statewide, on Tuesday, Oct. 20, Hansen dropped their case against Rock Art Brewery.The original claim asked that Rock Art cease and desist production and marketing of its Vermonster brand beer, which Hansen said could confuse customers intending to buy a Monster energy drink.  This claim seems ridiculous, and according to Doug Riley, a trade attorney, Hansen didn’t have much of a case.  Who would confuse a beer for an energy drink?But Matt Nadeu, owner of Rock Art Brewery, feared that Hansen would be able to drag the court battle out with its deeper pockets, eventually winning by default when the much smaller brewer ran out of money.In the weeks after the claim was first made public on Oct. 1, public outrage broiled over Facebook and the rest of the internet.Monster’s one public comment on the brouhaha was a response to a Facebook comment on their fan page.  The response, posted by a Monster representative, unceremoniously said, “Nobody cares.  Get a life.”Capitalizing on the momentum, Nadeu posted a six-minute YouTube video explaining the history of Rock Art and his feelings about the case, which immediately went viral, and now has 72,000 views —a little more than one-tenth the population of Vermont.  The 500 comments on the video vary in vulgarity, but nearly all proclaim commitment to a boycott of Monster products.Hansen clearly did not anticipate this sort of public response to their actions, and even we at The Cynic were happily surprised by the outcome of the ordeal.  The people have clearly and loudly stated that corporate bullying will not be tolerated in the Green Mountain State.Thanks to Vermont consumers and store owners, the rights of at least one local business have been upheld, and we can all rest easy knowing that we’re not dumb enough to confuse a locally crafted alcoholic beverage with a caffeine- and corn syrup-laden energy drink.