. . . to celebrate comes by way of Reid Smith over at The Spectacle. It was a battle I wasn’t even aware of until I read the good news in his post a few minutes ago, but it seems legendary bourbon distillers Maker’s Mark has prevailed in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a “trade dress” dispute with the makers of Jose Cuervo over the practice of dipping bottles in wax to form a seal on the neck.
This brings us to the question before us today: whether the bourbon producer Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc.’s registered trademark consisting of its signature trade dress element — a red dripping wax seal — is due protection, in the form of an injunction, from a similar trade dress element on Casa Cuervo, S.A. de C.V.’s Reserva de la Familiatequila bottles. We hold that it is. The judgments of the district court in this trademark infringement case are AFFIRMED.
Reid also cites a quote from Justice Hugo Black regarding Kentucky bourbon as it relates to Scotch: “I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky would need a tax preference to survive in competition with Kentucky bourbon.”
As a Kentuckian who prefers Scotch to my own state’s native spirit, I’d probably have to concede that point to Justice Black. I’m one of a very few people I know personally who prefer Scotch to bourbon — though, oddly enough, I know many more people who prefer Canadian whiskey (especially Crown Royal) to the local stuff. Maybe it’s a case of familiarity breeding contempt — idunno. But, I’ve always found bourbon to be just a smidge too cloying, and generally prefer Early Times Kentucky whiskey to its more expensive bourbon counterparts, like Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark.
(Some readers may not know this, but in order for a whiskey to legitimately wear the “bourbon” label, it has to be made in a specific region of the Bluegrass State — just as real Champagne must be produced from grapes grown in a specific region of France. Otherwise, it’s just “Kentucky whiskey”.)
In any event, here’s a tip o’ the glass to Reid Smith, and a picture he might appreciate: Two commemorative bottles: One marking the University of Kentucky Wildcats’ 1996 NCAA Basketball championship, and one marking the re-institution of the annual UK vs. UofL bragging rights game in 2001: