Wildfire Brewery Name Doused

August 26th, 2008 | Posted by Jay Brooks

Bend, Oregon’s newest brewery is Wildfire Brewing, or at least it was, because Chicago-based restaurant chain Wildfire Steaks, Chops & Seafood recently sent a cease and desist letter to the fledgling brewery giving them six-months to change the name. And while the restaurant chain operates in only Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Georgia — and doesn’t brew beer — Wildfire Brewery owner Garret Wales decided it wasn’t worth the fight.

The Oregon brewery simply couldn’t match the cash of the well-established chain for lawyer’s fees. It’s not clear that the restaurant chain would have prevailed. The two operate in separate geographic regions with a wide gap in between the two and only the brewery makes beer, so it’s hard to see where the confusion on the part of customers might be. But the brewery might one day want to serve food, too, and decided to change its name instead.

Wildfire Brewing

According to Wales, the challenge now is finding a new name.

“Shoot, we’re going on the Internet and just typing in beer, or going to the thesaurus. Googling Oregon geography and seeing if there’s some landmarks that haven’t already been trademarked. Butte, or mountain – the river’s kinda tied up obviously. Seems like everything locally Deschutes has used already.”

So far, they’ve narrowed it down to five possibilities. But they’re also opening it up to customers, distributing fliers in their market asking the public to suggest a name. If they use on of the names submitted, Wildfire Brewery will give the winning submission a free kegerator.

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6 Responses to “Wildfire Brewery Name Doused”

  1. SteveH Says:

    What a joke — and the Wildfire restaurants aren’t really that good, especially in a town with traditional steakhouses that always outshine them.

  2. Richard L Walker Says:

    Just the bullies with some cash being jackasses because … “THEY CAN” … and a legal system that lets them get away with it.

  3. Russell Bellamy Says:

    how ’bout Riverbend Brewing?

  4. Dave Shaver Says:

    It is annoying that the “bullies” and “jackasses” are asking for the name change. However, as previously noted, it is really the legal system that causes these problems. In short, if the Chicago chain does not stand up for its name — regardless of how “different” the brewery turns out to be — then the brand is diluted and unable to stand up to real infringement. So it goes.

    The other way to look at this: The brewery should have done a trademark search before they named the brewery. Once again annoying that they would need to spend this $1K… but much cheaper than a re-branding effort.

    Hopefully, they will do a trademark search once they pick a new name.

  5. Dave Epelone Says:

    Ridiculous . . . where’s the conflict ? It’s a different line of business and 2000 miles away. So I can’t open a funeral home in East Lompoc and call it ‘Wildfire funeral home ?’ They should call the brewery ” ‘That restaurant in Chicago that starts with W and really sucks’ Brewery “.

  6. Matt Sweeny Says:

    Honestly you guys are biased. I am not saying that I agree with Big Brother’ish ways of Chicago-based restaurant chain Wildfire Steaks, Chops & Seafood with their “…cease and desist letter to the fledgling brewery giving them six-months to change the name…”

    …but…

    You folks have to take the point of view like, what if you were the Owner of the “Chicago-based restaurant chain Wildfire Steaks”? So you are the owner, and you decide you want to open a new Wildfire location and upgrade the business model and include on the menu of the new location your new hand-crafted beer selection?

    Are you saying that if you were the owner of Chicago-based restaurant chain Wildfire Steaks you should not have the supreme rights to “Wildefire Brewing Co.” ??

    Again, not that I agree but to make you think about the flip side.