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Minnesota’s Whiskey War

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(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
Edgar Linares moved to the Twin Cities 24 hours before the largest...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The owner of Minnesota-based 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey is taking on the world’s largest Irish whiskey maker Jameson.

Owner of 2 Gingers and former restaurateur, Kieran Folliard says Jameson Irish Whiskey is infringing on their trademark cocktail “The Big Ginger” with a drink they’re pushing called the “Big Jameson Ginger”.

2 Gingers filed a temporary restraining order in federal court Wednesday morning after they learned last week of the “Big Jameson Ginger” name.

Folliard has been selling the Big Ginger drink since 2005. He sold his Twin Cities restaurants that included The Local, The Liffey, Cooper, and Kieran’s Irish Pub in 2011 to focus on whiskey making. Also federal regulations prohibit doing both at once.

2 Gingers marketing director Jane Bartel says Jameson attempted to purchase the Big Ginger name in 2009, but was unsuccessful.

“It’s a pretty clear infringement on our trademark,” said Bartell. “They pretty much wedged their name into our cocktail the Big Ginger.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

Folliard wants Jameson to stop using any names that incorporates “big” or “ginger” in the title. Bartel says they feel they had no choice but to go to court.

“(Jameson) they’re a giant. We work out of an office in northeast Minneapolis and have four fulltime employees,” said Bartel. “The Big Ginger has been a big stepping stone for us and a way to get the foot in the door… We feel it’s a big threat to our business and our livelihood here.”

General Manager of The Local, Josh Petzel says he surprised by the lawsuit. Folliard originally created the Big Ginger cocktail in The Local bar.

“It was as much a surprise to us as it was to the general public,” said Petzel. “These sorts of battles happen day-in and day-out… Usually they happen in a much larger level in international or multi-national. So it’s a little disconcerting to see it here.”

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