Sylva, N.C. — A small brewery in western North Carolina is in a legal dispute with a much bigger operation in Michigan.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Innovation Brewing of Sylva is the subject of a legal action by Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo over its name.
Innovation Brewing makes about 500 barrels of beer each year, mostly sold in Jackson County.
Bell’s says its unregistered advertising slogan “bottling Innovation since 1985” could lead to confusion. Bell’s distributes its beer in 18 states, including North Carolina. The slogan is not used on packaging, but does appear on bumper stickers.
The dispute is pending in the U.S. Trademark Trials and Appeals Board in Virginia. Bell’s founder Larry Bell would not talk about the dispute, saying he would leave it to the courts.