Diageo Sues Deutsch for Trademark Infringement  

The company filed the suit against W.J. Deutsch & Sons on Tuesday alleging their bottle shapes are a knock-off of Diageo’s BULLEIT bourbon and rye.
Diageo's Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, KY/Courtesy of Diageo

Diageo North America filed a federal trademark infringement suit against W.J. Deutsch & Sons on Tuesday alleging the bottle shape Deutsch’s Redemption brand bourbon and rye uses is a knock-off of Diageo’s own BULLEIT bourbon and rye.

“This case involves the willful acts of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and dilution by a direct competitor of Diageo who redesigned the bottle and label for a line of its whiskey beverage products in order to knock off the appearance and unfairly trade on the reputation of Diageo’s extremely popular BULLEIT brand bourbon and rye whiskey,” according to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

Deutsch, meanwhile, produces and sells a competitive line of premium whiskies under the Redemption brand name, the complaint says. The brand name is owned by Kentucky-based Bardstown Barrel Selections LLC, which operates as a subsidiary of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, according to Bloomberg. Bardstown is also named in the complaint.

Brown-Forman Reports Earnings

Diageo points out in the complaint that for years Redemption whiskies were sold in cylinder-shaped bottles. It was only after BULLEIT’s success, that Deutsch “revised the bottle and label design for Redemption whiskey products to closely mimic the distinctive appearance of Diageo’s Bulleit,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit cites the various sections of the Lanham Act, the federal law that governs trademarks and unfair competition, as well as various state laws. Diageo, which has not specified an amount for damages, is seeking both actual and compensatory damages, disgorgement of profits and attorneys’ fees. 

Deutsch and Bardstown have 30 days to respond to the filing. Neither could be reached for comment.

Published on June 7, 2017
Topics: Latest News
About the Author
Leslie Gevirtz
Contributing Editor, Business

An award-winning journalist, Gevirtz spent more than 20 years covering disasters—natural, political, and financial—before becoming Reuters’ wine correspondent; a beat that guaranteed her colleagues were always glad to see her.




Want breaking news in the wine world?

Sign up for the Beverage Industry Enthusiast newsletter for a weekly rundown on the latest
Sign up for the
Beverage Industry Enthusiast
newsletter for a weekly
rundawn on the latest
Please enter a valid email address

Welcome to winemag.com! By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our Privacy Policy