Former publican sues over Jameson cocktail
Published 20/02/2012 | 05:00
A Ballyhaunis man who owned a US pub that was regularly recognised as a leading global seller of Jameson has sued Irish Distillers and its French owner Pernod Ricard in a row over a trademark.
Minnesota bar 'The Local' was typically using over 7,000 bottles of Jameson a year as punters snapped up a drink it named 'The Big Ginger', a mix of the whiskey and ginger ale.
Ken Folliard owned the bar and three others in Minneapolis. Two firms controlled by him have taken the action against the drinks groups.
The Mayo native is alleging that Irish Distillers and Pernod Ricard are infringing his trademark by branding a cocktail as the 'Big Jameson Ginger'. He wants them to stop and he's seeking unspecified damages.
Mr Folliard's firms concede that while the whiskey and ginger ale mix wasn't invented in the 'The Local', it refined the proportions, added lemon and lime, and created a cocktail that had a wider appeal. It became the top-selling drink in 'The Local' and Mr Folliard's three other premises, with his pub group using more than 14,400 bottles of of Jameson a year.
He secured a trademark registration for the 'Big Ginger' name in the US in 2009.
Mr Folliard decided to substitute Jameson in the cocktail with a private label Irish whiskey called '2 Gingers', which was developed by him. He then focused on distributing the new whiskey and marketing 'The Big Ginger' drink.
But under federal law, Mr Folliard couldn't own bars and a liquor distribution business, so he sold the bars last summer.
A spokesman for Irish Distillers declined to comment.