Strange Brew Homebrew Shop didn't come up with the name "Strange Brew" either. It's the name of a 1983 film, a Cream song, a tavern, several coffeehouses (including a large one in Austin), a software company, an online comic, an occult supply store, etc. all with an online presence, all of which took me about 5 seconds on Google to find. So how can they claim they own the rights to it?!?
They were using the Grateful Dead dancing bear logo on their Facebook page, then took it down when people started calling them on it. Surely they don’t own the rights to that. Hypocritical much?
Strange Brewing Company in Denver, after receiving that first letter from their lawyer, tried to “reach across the aisle” and come up with an amicable solution. Whether Strange Brew liked it or not is not what upset people. What upset people is the tone of the subsequent letter that was sent by their lawyer, calling their offer “offensive” and frankly they just came across as a complete jerk who is trying bully another small business with litigation.
Strange Brewing Company did not start a social media campaign to attack the MA homebrew shop. They posted a link to the Westword article (http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2012/11/strange_brewing_trademark_threat.php
) which has the full text of all three letters, and people were able to see for themselves the tone of both sides and then, of their own free will, fans of Strange Brewing Company and hundreds of craft beer fans in general analyzed the situation and are extremely unhappy that Strange Brew Homebrew Shop chose the path of litigation rather than collaboration, an idea that has caught on and is promoted within the craft beer community. Strange Brewing Company did NOT launch a social media campaign against them. People saw what huge jerks Strange Brew was being and they let their voices be heard. In a society with free speech, that’s how social media works! We have that right. Strange Brew Homebrew Shop has repeatedly deleted comments on their Facebook page in an effort to hide the backlash, but it has carried over to Yelp, beer forums, Reddit, and more. That’s the digital age for you. Maybe they should have thought this through more carefully before they decided to go down this path?
So to summarize: the reputation of Strange Brew Homebrew Shop has been tarnished because, ultimately, they decided to sue someone to “get ahead”, Strange Brewing Company tried to find a way to work it out with them, Strange Brew Homebrew Shop responded with another threatening letter from their lawyer, the word got out, and people have let them know about their displeasure with the situation.