Pernod-Ricard settles Irish whiskey trademark suit

A Minnesota company accused the French spirits maker of ripping off its signature cocktail

Two Irish whiskey makers have settled a short-lived trademark infringement lawsuit just a few weeks before St. Patrick’s Day.

On Feb. 15, 2 Gingers Whiskey sued French spirits maker Pernod-Ricard, claiming the European company ripped off a signature cocktail that The Local and its affiliated bars have been serving in the Twin Cities since 2005.

In the mid-2000s, in order to boost the appeal of Irish whiskey, The Local developed a drink called the “Big Ginger,” which it originally made with Pernod-Ricard’s Jameson Irish whiskey, ginger ale, lemon and lime. The cocktail became such a hit that The Local became the No. 1 on-premise seller of Jameson in the world between 2006 and 2011. The pubs’ owner trademarked the “Big Ginger,” which Pernod-Ricard offered to buy for $200,000.

The pubs’ owner rejected Pernod-Ricard’s offer and went on to develop and import his own Irish whiskey, called 2 Gingers Whiskey. The Local and its sister pubs stopped using Jameson in the “Big Ginger” and began using 2 Gingers Whiskey instead.

According to the lawsuit, Pernod-Ricard’s Jameson unit then began providing other Minnesota restaurants promotional material for the “Big Jameson Ginger,” which 2 Gingers Whiskey claims was an attempt to benefit from the fame of the “Big Ginger” and to boost sales in the weeks before St. Patrick’s Day, when Irish whiskey sales are at their highest.

According to Bloomberg, Pernod-Ricard and 2 Gingers Whiskey reached an amicable settlement yesterday. 2 Gingers Whiskey reportedly asked the court to cancel a hearing on its motion for a restraining order against Pernod-Ricard. No settlement terms were disclosed. 

Ashley Post

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