TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Anheuser-Busch sued over YouTube videos

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

ST. LOUIS — A Montana-based craft brewer is suing the world's largest beer maker, alleging that popular YouTube videos for Bud Light violate its trademarked phrase, “Hold my beer and watch this.”

Big Sky Brewing Co. filed its lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont. The company says it has used the slogan since at least 2004 and has a trademark.

At issue are three videos on Bud Light's official YouTube site by actor John Krasinski, best known for playing Jim Halpert on NBC's The Office, and his business partner, Danny Stessen. The videos depict odd things that might happen after asking someone to hold your beer. In one, a woman celebrating her 100th birthday feigns death after asking a young man to hold her beer, then after the man and his friends leave, she high-fives and laughs with another elderly woman.

The videos debuted about a month ago and, as of Tuesday, had nearly 5 million views. The videos are only online.

Big Sky's lawsuit includes photos of cans of one of its brews, the back reading “Hold my beer and watch this.” The suit, filed on Dec. 20, seeks unspecified damages.

Neal Leathers, president of Big Sky and one of the founders, said the Missoula-based company is “engaged in negotiations with Anheuser-Busch to try and get this resolved. Until something's actually been resolved, we're just sort of taking the no-comment route.”

An Anheuser-Busch official, in an emailed statement, stood behind the videos.

“These humorous Bud Light videos explore the unexpected things that could happen when you ask someone to hold your beer,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Bud Light marketing. “There is no trademark use of the phrase ‘Hold my beer and watch this,' nor is there intent to create any association with Big Sky. Countless other videos and jokes use the same or similar words as a punch line or hashtag.”

InBev, of Belgium, purchased Anheuser-Busch in 2008, but the company retained St. Louis as U.S. headquarters. The company makes several top-selling beers, including Bud Light and Budweiser. Anheuser-Busch InBev commands 47.6 percent of the U.S. beer market.

Big Sky offers several craft beers with such names as “Moose Drool,” “Trout Slayer” and “Slow Elk.” The company website says it is the nation's 50th largest brewer, with sales of about 45,000 barrels of beer in 2012. Big Sky brews are sold in 24 states.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Tech companies lay claim to ‘Silicon Beach’
  2. Fired coal miners find employment in Wyoming
  3. Health care law compliance complex for employers
  4. Data make strong case for 401(k)
  5. GAO warns of health site weaknesses
  6. Underestimated income to cost insured workers
  7. ‘Airbender’ bent rules of Pa. film tax credit
  8. Good manners relevant when in professional setting
  9. Trucking firms stretch to hire drivers
  10. Young watchmaker pursues lifelong fixation
  11. Sometimes, all you need is a reboot
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.