Lagunitas Brewing Company, a craft brewer based in Northern California, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, claiming that Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter IPA beer label too closely resembled its own IPA flagship label. The basis of such a lawsuit is that the similarity could cause consumer confusion. Lagunitas wanted Sierra Nevada to stop using the label and sought financial compensation.
When consumers got wind of the lawsuit, they took to social media to denounce the move by Lagunitas. Due to consumer backlash, Lagunitas decided to drop the suit.
This case highlights that consumer loyalty has a powerful role to play in decision-making — and, in this case, was likely a bigger issue for Lagunitas than the likelihood of consumer brand confusion.