Restaurateur Kieran Folliard Sues Jameson Over Trademark

Through his two businesses, the local restaurateur-turned-whiskey-maker reportedly filed a lawsuit alleging that the distilling giant's "Big Jameson Ginger" cocktail improperly copies his signature "Big Ginger" drinks that his pubs have been selling since 2005.

Well-known Twin Cities restaurateur Kieran Folliard-who recently refocused his efforts on making and selling Irish whiskey-has reportedly sued the world's largest brand of Irish whiskey, Jameson, over trademark rights to a specialty drink.

The lawsuit, filed by Kieran's businesses A Kieran Collection and 2 Gingers Whiskey, alleges that the distilling giant's “Big Jameson Ginger” cocktail improperly copies Folliard's signature “Big Ginger” drinks that his pubs have been selling since 2005, according to a Star Tribune report.

The drink comprises whiskey, ginger ale, and lemon and lime wedges.

Through the lawsuit, Folliard reportedly aims to stop Jameson from using a name for its cocktails that incorporates the words “big” and “ginger.” He claims those words are protected by a trademark registration that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued in 2009, according to the Star Tribune.

The lawsuit indicates that timing is critical to Folliard's commercial success with his own line of 2 Gingers Whiskey, as St. Patrick's Day-the day in which more Irish whiskey is consumed than any other time of year-is just a month away.

Ironically, one of Folliard's former pubs-The Local in downtown Minneapolis-has been honored by Jameson for the past five years as the world's largest seller of the whiskey, the Star Tribune reported. The lawsuit reportedly claims that almost 75 percent of the Jameson consumed in Folliard's pubs was in the form of The Big Ginger.

Last year, Folliard sold his stake in his local pubs-The Local, Kieran's Irish Pub, Cooper, and The Liffey-in order to focus on the whiskey business, as liquor laws prohibit the ownership of both a distillery arm and a retail outlet, like a bar. Folliard also swapped out much of the Jameson Irish whiskey at his four bars for 2 Gingers Whiskey.