Call it a case of Whiskey a No No, on Wednesday Kieran Folliard and his company, A Kieran Connection, filed suit against Jameson Whiskey claiming that the "Jameson Big Ginger" was a case of infringement. The lawsuit claims that Folliard's 2 Ginger's whiskey filed a U.S. trademark application for "the Big Ginger" in June 2008 and received the trademark in August of 2009.
The lawsuit would seem to effectively end what was once a successful relationship.
Folliard's onetime company Cara Irish Pub, which operates the Local, Kieran's Irish Pub, Cooper Irish Pub, and the Liffey, was at one time recognized as the top retailer of Jameson Whiskey. According to the suit they sold over 40,000 bottles a year. When we spoke with him in March of last year, Folliard was frank in giving credit to Jameson Irish Whiskey as the original ingredient in their so-called Big Ginger, described as being two shots of Jameson mixed with ginger ale in a 16-ounce glass garnished with lemon and lime. Said Folliard, "We have a good relationship, and we'll continue to sell their product [Jameson Whiskey], it just won't be as heavily promoted, and it won't be in the Big Ginger."
Folliard at that time had just left the company to focus solely on 2 Gingers.
It was reported that in 2009 the parent company of Jameson, Pernod Ricard, offered to buy the Big Ginger trademark for $20,000, but no deal was reached. On February 8, 2 Gingers learned that Pernod was providing a Northeast Minneapolis bar with a table tent referencing "Big Jameson Ginger." The suit was filed a week later.
Folliard would like the court to intervene and prevent Jameson from using the words "Big" and "Ginger" together to describe its cocktails, claiming it confuses customers. As St. Patrick's Day looms, the lawsuit says a lot of dollars are at stake in one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year.