Shmaltz drops beer name to settle Sutter Home winery lawsuit

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 15, 2017 22:25 hrs

(Reuters) - Shmaltz Brewing Co said on Wednesday it agreed to stop selling beer carrying the "MANNAge a Trois" name to settle a lawsuit in which California's Sutter Home Winery Inc accused it of infringing its "Menage a Trois" trademark.

In a Nov. 28 complaint in San Francisco federal court, Sutter Home had said MANNAge a Trois was "confusingly similar" to Menage a Trois, a name it began using in 1997 and trademarked in 2006, and whose sales topped $193 million in 2015.

Shmaltz, whose beers include the He'Brew line, had been using MANNAge a Trois for the sale of its Hop Manna, Hop Mania and Hop Momma India pale ales.

Greg Chanese, Shmaltz's marketing director, in an email said the Clifton Park, New York-based craft brewery agreed to stop using "MANNAge a Trois," and has destroyed all packaging with the name.

Shmaltz said the settlement was amicable, and both parties said the settlement was to their "mutual satisfaction."

Sutter Home has long been known for its white zinfandel, though the Napa Valley winery, located in St. Helena, makes more than 20 other wines.

The Brewers Association trade group said there were more than 4,900 U.S. craft breweries as of Nov. 30, 2016, twice the number four years earlier.

This proliferation has resulted in many lawsuits over beer names and packaging.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Grant McCool and Chris Reese)

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