Tom Schlafly, co-founder of The St. Louis Brewery, which sells its beers under the Schlafly brand name, has won a 7-year trade mark battle relating to his family and brand name over his aunt and her two sons. As one of the pioneers in craft brewing in the St. Louis, Schlafly began selling beer in 1991 under his family name. In 2014, the brewery filed for an exclusive trademark on the use of the name 'Schlafly' for beer; however, this was opposed by Phyllis Schlafly, his aunt, on the grounds that "alcohol has a connotation that is the opposite of conservative values."
Until her death at 92 in September 2016, Phyllis Schlafly was a leading nemesis of the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, gay rights and communism. Shortly before she passed away, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) sided on August 2, 2016 with the brewery over Phyllis Schlafly. Subsequent to her death, the family continued their case with an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Last week, the court finally decided on behalf of Saint Louis Brewery.
The Court of Appeals ruling affirmed now the decision by the TTAB that the mark “Schlafly” for beer meets the requirements for a trademark registration. The decision unequivocally confirms that Schlafly Beer has built a name for itself as a trusted brand for the beer consumer for over the last 27 years.
“Since we began selling beer in 1991, the Schlafly name has been our connection to our consumers. The trademark allows us to ensure that the trusted product is protected for years to come. It also allows our talented team to continue efforts in brewing innovations, sustainability and community involvement,” said Tom Schlafly in a statement.
The St. Louis Brewery produced in 2017 about 90,000 barrels of beer. The company sells over sixty types of beer with the Schlafly mark in fourteen states and the District of Columbia, through thirty wholesalers, 14,000 retail locations and several national restaurant chains.
In 2012, St. Louis based private equity firm Sage Capital acquired a 60 percent majority stake in the brewer. Dan Kopman, who co-founded SchlaflyBeer's parent, The Saint Louis Brewery together with Tom Schlafly, left the company after 25 years at the end of 2016