September 27, 2019
A Nova Scotia craft brewery has decided to rename its “Damn Skippy” peanut butter stout to avoid conflict with a U.S. peanut-butter giant.
Damn Skippy has been one of Off Track Brewing’s (“Off Track”) signature beers since the brewery opened its doors in 2017. More recently, the name caught the attention of Hormel Foods, the American company behind Skippy peanut butter.
In June of this year, Hormel Foods (“Hormel”) sent Off Track a cease-and-desist letter on account of Off Track’s use of the Skippy trademark. The letter threatened legal action if the brewery did not stop using the trademarked name.
Skippy-brand peanut butter, which has not been available in Canadian grocery stores since it was discontinued in the Canadian market in 2017, is not actually used in Off Track’s recipe. Nevertheless, Hormel Foods issued a statement about the matter, indicating that they “reached out to the brewery as they were using [the] whole trademark in a manner that made it seem like their product contained our Skippy peanut butter and was affiliated with or endorsed by our company.”
Rather than challenge the cease-and-desist, Off Track opted to comply with the request and rebrand the beer. Fans of Damn Skippy can now purchase the same peanut butter stout under the name “Illuminutti.”
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Meg King