Monumental Beer Works opened its doors in Grand Junction on March 19, 2020, but when the brewery expands with a second dining room and restaurant later this year, it will do so under a different name.
Brian Fischer, co-founder and chief operating officer, said the brewery is currently undergoing a rebranding process after being contacted about a trademark dispute over the word “huge.” The company, originally named for its proximity to the Colorado National Monument, will soon debut as Base Camp Beer Works.
Exactly how soon? It’s hard to tell, Fisher said. About two months ago, the brewery was informed that it would need a new name. It was then, after getting some legal advice, that Fisher and his team decided to solicit fans’ trademark ideas. They received 500 suggestions, among them Base Camp Beer Works, which resonated with the brewery team.
“Finding the names that weren’t taken is a very difficult task,” Fisher said. “We had a small group of angel investors when we opened. We referred to them from the beginning as our base camp. This has always been part of our organization, but not publicly. We thought, How cool would it be to use our business foundation as our future too?”
Perhaps it was fitting that Fisher purchased the brand name Base Camp from a finished brewery in Oregon. The real work begins now, Fisher said, as the brewery needs to order new merchandise, glassware, barrel rolls, and labels — “everything you can imagine,” Fisher said — before it becomes official.
“I haven’t made an estimate yet. But I imagine that runs into tens of thousands (of dollars).”
Trademark disputes are becoming increasingly common in the beer industry as the number of American breweries – and thus beer production – has increased. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the trademark for “huge” was filed in 2010 by Port City Brewing Co. in Alexandria, Virginia, which offers a year-round show called the Monumental IPA. Many other beer names for Port City Brewing Co. are also trademarks, including Metro Red, an IPA; optimum, its nature; and Downwright, Pilsner, according to the US Trademark Database.
Port City founder Bill Butcher told the Denver Post he was preparing for a ski trip to Breckenridge and looking for breweries to check out while in the Centennial State when he stumbled upon Monumental Beer Works.
“It worried me because that’s the name of our flagship IPA,” Butcher said.
This isn’t the first time Butcher has contacted another brewery over a trademark dispute, and although Port City does not distribute to Colorado, he maintains that locals recognize the brand because of its presence at the Great American Beer Festival. In 2015, Port City Brewing Co., Ltd. For the Young Brewer of the Year title, the Monumental IPA has won the medal in the GABF competition multiple times.
“It’s the identity of our beer and brewery,” Butcher said. “Most of the time we were able to get on with it amicably. This was one of those times.”
Fisher, for his part, does not care about the past. Instead, he’s focused on opening a new 3,000-square-foot location in Fruita, his hometown, that will serve Base Camp Beer Works drinks alongside European and American pub fare, such as moules-frites, a Belgian staple. It is expected to open this summer, and Fischer will eventually be installing a small brewing system there to prepare experimental recipes.
The Grand Junction brewery is still open and sells beer and what will soon become Monumental Beer Works. Once the rebranding is complete, Fisher said, Base Camp Beer Works will celebrate with a party.
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