A trademark dispute forces us to say so long to the South Loop Brewing Company name. They’ve become Hop Butcher For the World.For a long time, the only Chicago-based beer company referencing Carl Sandberg was the contract outfit Big Shoulders. Now, we can add the newly-christened Hop Butcher to the growing list of literary breweries.*
Hop Butcher, formerly known as the South Loop Brewing Company, quietly announced the name change on Monday and have slowly been rolling out updates to their social media accounts. The name change was prompted by a trademark issue that basically meant the SLBC name couldn’t be protected in the future, which is a big deal if you’re trying to build a long-term business with a standalone brewery.
Owner Jeremiah Zimmer explained the name change on their page thusly:
Anytime you put a ton of time, money and effort into building something, you want to be able to protect the investment. Similarly, It’s also about not putting ourselves at risk of lawsuit at some unknown point in the future as well by infringing on someone else’s already-registered mark.
In an email to GDB, Zimmer further explains that there was nothing malicious about the trademark issue, no threats were ever issued and there’s zero intention on his part to lay blame anywhere — it’s simply the specificity of the law.
Because there was already a beer branded and trademarked with “South Loop” in its name (specifically the Argus-brewed South Loop Lager for the Jimmy Green’s bar), that product’s existence in the general beer category precluded SLBC from being able to protect their name. Never mind the difference between ales vs. lagers. Never mind the distinction between a brewery and a beer, even.
Zimmer also tells us that it’s simply recognition that “there would be a possibility for confusion/conflict and we would be the ones left exposed and unable to protect ourselves.” Thus was born Hop Butcher.
SLBC’s history dates back to 2011, when the Chicago Journal covered Zimmer’s early efforts towards launching the brewery. The company kicked off an Indiegogo campaign back in 2013 and rolled out their first beers, a couple collaborative brews with Lake Effect, back in July of the same year.
Since then, their other offerings like Alemerica the Beautiful and Hop Monster of the Midway have been brewed out of the Aquanaut space in Bowmanville. You may recall we also covered their Witka brew for TOC here. We quite enjoyed our recent encounter with their World’s Columbian Coffee Expedition Stout which we called “a big step forward” for them a short while ago.
Now it seems another, bigger step is being taken.
Regardless of the name on the can, the brewery’s “Good Guys Wear Black” Sox-centric black rye IPA will be available for purchase throughout the season at U. S. Cellular Field.
*Also note the Nelson-Algren inspired name of Broken Nose Cider.