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BART Takes Legal Action Against Craft Brewery That Named Their Beer B.A.R.T.

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Thing is, it was actually named for a dog, not a transit system.

Turns out changing those cloth seats to vinyl isn't the only thing on the minds of the folks at BART these days—they're also trying to make sure that no one else can use that name for a craft beer. As Inside Scoop reports, the less-than-beloved Bay Area Rapid Transit system is trying to block FiftyFifty Brewing Company's attempts to trademark their B.A.R.T. beer. (In their case, it stands for Barrel Aged, Really Tasty.) The trouble is, the Truckee-based brewery didn't actually name their beer for BART at all, but rather for Bart, the beloved (and now-deceased) dog of brothers/brewers Kyle and Todd Ashman. They've been making it for years, but have recently ramped up production in preparation to sell across state lines, which necessitated getting the trademark—and subsequently caught the attention of that other, bigger BART.

In its legal filing, BART asserts that letting FiftyFifty use the name for their beer is "likely to cause and will cause dilution of the distinctive quality of [BART's] Marks," which FiftyFifty's CEO, Andy Barr, says he finds bizarre. (Craft beers and public transportation systems, while a fantastic pairing, aren't often confused for each other.) Nonetheless, BART is standing by its attempts to protect the trademark; a rep told Inside Scoop that "Use of the BART name by unauthorized parties for commercial gain, whether or not they are in the rapid transit business, is a violation of trademark law, and something BART must protect itself against." The case remains undecided, but it's possible that FiftyFifty may end up having to change the beer's name—an all-too-common story in craft brewing these days. Personally, we're all for getting the Beer by BART folks to step in and do a little mediation.

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