Small Bothell brewery threatened for using '12th man' as name for new beer

Foggy Noggin changed the name of their special Superbowl drink when a university threatened a law suit. - Courtesy photo
Foggy Noggin changed the name of their special Superbowl drink when a university threatened a law suit.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Bothell's Foggy Noggin Brewing received a cease and desist order for naming a new beer "12th Man Skittles IPA" in honor of the Seattle Seahawks -- but the order wasn't from the Seahawks or Skittles.

The order came from Texas A&M University, the same place that sued the Seahawks for using "12th man" in February 2006. The university and the Seahawks ended up settling out of court, as the Seahawks agreed to pay a licensing fee and acknowledge Texas A&M's ownership rights of the trademarked phrase.

"I was blown away that this university even heard about us using that name for our beer," said Jim Jamison, manager of Foggy Noggin. "I mean, the beer we made will only serve around 55 people, it's a small keg we planned on filling."

The beer was meant to be a special release, only available during the Superbowl game this Sunday. Jamison was making a 12-ounce and warned customers the limited beer would go fast.

Ingredients for the beer included Maris Otter malt, Skittles and Columbus Centennial hops.

"We request that everyone stop talking, blogging and posting anything that associates with the original name of the beer. Foggy Noggin Brewing apologizes for any perceived infringement on any trademarks, as we were only trying to have fun as the Seattle Seahawks get ready to play in the Super Bowl this Sunday," Jamison wrote an email to the public and to Texas A&M representatives.

"After the university received the email, the attorneys said they'd drop it," Jamison said. "We really want to keep things light and not let this stop us from having a blast watching the game Sunday.:"

Origins of the term "12th man" aren't concrete to one company or entity, but the traditions in Seattle and College Station where Texas A&M is located date back decades. In 1984, the Seahawks retired the number 12 to honor fans for making their stadium one of the noisiest.

Texas A&M traces their use to 1922, when an injury-plagued roster led the team to pull E. King Gill from the stands and suited him up to play. Gill never took to the field, but the legend strengthened campus-wide commitment to support the team. The words "Home of 12th Man" adorn the stadium and the entire school is considered the 12th Man.


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