DB wins its battle over Radler beer

NICK KRAUSE
Last updated 12:55 14/07/2011
Radler beer
WHAT'S IN A NAME: Southern brewery Green Man took on giant DB over the use of the name radler.

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DB Breweries has won a long running trademark case over the use of the name Radler on one of its beers.

The brewery took action in 2008 against Dunedin-based Green Man Brewery, saying its use of the name was a trademark breach.

DB trademarked "radler" in 2003, two years after its Monteith's Radler hit the market.

But internationally radler is a term (cyclist in German) dating back to the 1920s to describe a shandy-style light beer, usually about 2.5 per cent alcohol by volume, of Bavarian origin.

The southern brewery was forced to relabel its beer "Green Man Cyclist".

The Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA) applied to have DB's trademark revoked, arguing that Radler was a generic term for a style of beer, something which DB had long rejected.

But following a three day hearing, the Intellectual Property Office has decided DB's trademark should not be cancelled.

''We didn't do it to prevent competition or restrict consumers access to different types of beer products, DB general manager marketing, Clare Morgan said in a statement.

''Our trade mark has never stopped shandy or lemon or lime flavoured beverages being made by local brewers under their own brand name.''

SOBA said the finding was ''extremely disappointing''.

"Imagine a firm registering the term 'Muesli' when used to describe cereal or 'Jalapeno' when used to describe hot sauce," SOBA's secretary Greig McGill said.

"Our stated position has always been that we do not think that any brewery should own the name of a beer style.

Costs were awarded to DB, however Morgan said it would not be asking for SOBA to pay up.

DB began producing Monteith's Radler in 2001 and trademarked the Radler name in 2003.

Ironically, while Green Man Radler is true to style, Monteith's Radler is not. At 5 per cent alcohol by volume, it is twice the strength of a genuine radler.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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