Long Trail Ail | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Long Trail Ail 

Brewer faces off against cereal biz


On July 31, lawyers for the Long Trail Brewing Company of Bridgewater Corners told Bear Naked, Inc., a Connecticut-based granola company, to “take a hike.”

In a filing available at Burlington’s United States District Court, Long Trail accuses the cereal brand, now owned by the Kellogg Company, of “trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices.”

What did the crunchy folks do wrong? For one thing, their packaging used the slogan “take a hike,” which was part of a logo trademarked by LTBC in November 1996. The same logo, which LTBC has been putting on its raisin- and- peanut-based trail mix since 2005, also features “an image of a person hiking while wearing a backpack and carrying a walking stick or hiking pole.”

Believe it or not, in 2007 Bear Naked began to market its own trail mix — with cashews, dried cherries and oats — in packaging that included both the “take a hike” catchphrase and a picture of a mountaineer “wearing a backpack and carrying a walking stick.”

In February, the brewery sent Bear Naked a cease-and-desist order. A month later, Kellogg responded by email to say “the company would send a full response.” It never did.

“Bear Naked’s acts are calculated . . . and are likely to cause confusion or mistake and deceive consumers,” the filing continues. In addition to retaining the exclusive use of its slogan and the hiker logo, LTBC is seeking significant financial compensation, including all of Bear Naked’s profits from the offending trail mix, plus damages and legal fees. And the brewery is asking that all packaging bearing its “registered mark” be destroyed.

A representative from Long Trail declined to comment, Bear Naked was unable to as of press time. It does, however, appear that Bear Naked has revamped its packaging. The hiker logo and phrase are nowhere to be found on the company’s website. An item in its online FAQ reads: “The packaging is different, has the product changed?” The response: “No need to worry, our product has not changed . . . we have, however, evolved our packaging to a new look that we hope you will love as much as we do.” Nice spin.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a... more


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation