bandit brewery

Toronto brewery forced to change the name of its beer

The recent weather in Toronto has many folks turning to thoughts of sunnier climes, those at Bandit Brewery included.

But when the microbrewery near Roncesvalles started putting out their globetrotting-inspired “YYZ” Milkshake IPA series (named for Toronto’s airport code) they were slapped with a trademark infringement.

“Since the change from the original name, YYZ→LAX, to a provisional ZZY→LAX, our customers have been puzzled about our apparent inability to spell YYZ, so we felt it necessary to explain the issue to them,” says Juan M. Gonzalez-Calcaneo on behalf of Bandit.

“We looked into challenging the trademark but unfortunately, as a small microbrewery, we simply don’t have the funds or resources to fight this.”

Bandit posted a photo to their Instagram of a letter with names blacked out sent to them by “intellectual property solicitors” on behalf of their client, “the registered owner of the trademark YYZ,” who Bandit only names in the post as “The Big Guys.”

However, it’s evident from the outpouring of comments on the post that the letter most likely came from Amsterdam Brewery.

When reached for comment, Amsterdam President Jim Carefoot noted the brewery has produced some YYZ beers, usually just ones available in their pubs or tap rooms.

He admitted that Amsterdam doesn't own the YYZ trademark as a whole but did register it "in relationship to beer."

Carefoot emphasized that Amsterdam has no desire to damage any ties with "other craft brewers," but suggested the letter was sent because even a rarely-used trademark only has value if protected.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns


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