Faced with legal challenge from north of the border, Mooselick rebrands as Granite Roots
By MEGHAN PIERCE Union Leader Correspondent
TROY — The Mooselick Brewing Co. tap room closed for the last time Sunday night, preparing for its rebirth this weekend as Granite Roots Brewing, ending a trademark battle with a much bigger moose-loving brewery from the Great White North.
Oliver Levick co-owns the brewery with his parents, Anthony and Fenella Levick, and his two friends Mike Iodice and Chris LoDulce.
Mooselick started selling beer in July 2015 and opened its tap room on Route 12 in Troy soon after with a name that honored their local heritage.
“We thought it was fun, interesting and it kind of paid homage to the moose,” Oliver Levick said Monday. “We thought it was one of the coolest of animals in New Hampshire, and that we could have fun and play with and have some moose themes.”
And they did with beer names such as Blue Moose, a golden ale brewed with blueberries and black currants; and Atmoosphere, an India pale ale.
Before long, that bigger moose brewery to the north took notice.
In October, Mooselick started receiving correspondence from Moosehead Breweries Limited, Canada’s oldest independent brewery, located in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Levick said he and the other owner of Mooselick were unaware that Moosehead had the trademark for the moose in the alcohol beverage industries in both Canada and the United States.
“I didn’t think trademarks could be so broad,” Levick said. “It was obviously very upsetting to us when we found out about it.”
Moosehead is intent on upholding the trademark, which means the Troy brewers could not use a moose in its names on any brews or even the image of a moose on its label.
It’s not the first time the Canadian company has taken aim at another brewer over its coveted mascot. In 2004, Moosehead settled with Montana-based Big Sky Brewing Co. after a nine-year legal battle. Big Sky continues to brew its Moose Drool brown ale but agreed not to trademark the name and can only sell the beer regionally, primarily west of the Mississippi, according to a story in the Missoulian.
In September, a federal court jury sided with Moosehead in another case, finding that a New York brewery’s Moose Wizz root beer infringed on Moosehead’s trademarks. A U.S. District Court judge ordered the Lake George-based Adirondack Pub & Brewery to stop selling it, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
The owners of Mooselick didn’t want to go down that path.
“We didn’t have the resources for a long, drawn-out legal battle,” Levick said. So the owners notified Moosehead of a transition plan and worked on creating a new name and image for the brewery.
Levick and his friends Iodice and LoDulce had all grown up in New Hampshire and wanted to pay tribute to their roots and the brewery’s commitment to the state.
“We wanted something that represented us and what we stood for,” Levick said.
It’s a bittersweet transition, Levick said, adding while they are sad to say goodbye to Mooselick they love their new brand.
“We closed up Sunday night, the brewery, the last night of Mooselick — it was a little bittersweet,” Levick said. “We’re really excited for what lies ahead with Granite Roots.”
There are other changes in store for patrons, such as a larger beer garden with double the seating.
This weekend will be a soft launch, Levick said, with Granite Roots merchandise going on sale for the first time.
Over the April 29-30 weekend, the taproom is planning a relaunch party with live music.
The tap room is open Fridays 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays noon to 6 p.m.