The parent company of Brizzy Seltzer Cocktails has filed a lawsuit against Molson Coors Beverage Company in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging that the second largest U.S. beer manufacturer’s Vizzy Hard Seltzer name “is nearly identical to Brizzy in sight, sound and appearance” and infringes upon its trademark.
Austin, Texas-based Future Proof, which makes Brizzy, is seeking a jury trial, and asking the court to stop Molson Coors from using the Vizzy trademark to sell, market and distribute alcoholic beverages. The company is also seeking three times the damages outlined in the complaint plus court costs and legal fees.
Future Proof filed a trademark application for Brizzy on November, 30 2018. Brizzy launched in September 2019 in three flavors: Watermelon Mule, Mixed Berry Mojito and Strawberry Rose. Within 90 days of its release, Brizzy gained placements in more than 1,000 retail locations in four states: Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Michigan. Future Proof has sold more than 10,000 cases since Brizzy’s launch.
Molson Coors plans to release Vizzy in late March. The company touts it as “the first hard seltzer made with acerola cherry, the super fruit high in the antioxidant vitamin C,” according to its Behind the Beer blog. Vizzy was first announced during the company’s Q3 2019 earnings call.
The lawsuit alleges that Molson Coors executives were aware of Brizzy’s name and branding and proceeded with Vizzy despite the similarities.
“MillerCoors’s deliberate infringement is likely to succeed in causing consumer confusion,” according to the court documents, which refer to Molson Coors as MillerCoors, the former name of the company’s U.S. business unit. “Not only is MillerCoors’s Vizzy mark substantially identical to Future Proof’s Brizzy mark, but MillerCoors intends its hard seltzer products to compete head-to-head with Future Proof’s Brizzy hard seltzer products in store aisles, bars and in restaurants.”
In a statement, Molson Coors said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office “published the Vizzy trademark application after reviewing the registered trademarks, including the ones owned by Future Proof.
“Plus, Vizzy’s packaging is markedly different and offers unique ingredients,” the company continued. “We don’t believe consumers will be confused. Distributors and retailers alike are thrilled about getting Vizzy on shelves this spring, as we all believe that the brand has strong potential to be a meaningful player in the hard seltzer segment.”