In a press release sent out yesterday and posted to the company's Facebook page today, Eric and Julie Michaud confirmed and elaborated upon all of the rumors swirling around the "maintenance period" at their brew pub and distillery. "Our products are not changing, just the name, a little bit of the layout, and the idea of what that space provides," they said. The new name? Liquid Riot Bottling Co. The owners of Novare Res and In'finiti Fermentation and Distillation revealed that without a trademark on the name "In'finiti," they've been unable to defend their brand against similarly named businesses.
Which businesses might those be? Infinity Brewing Company, which launched in South Burlington, VT recently, is a likely candidate. And there's the small matter of a giant, no doubt litigious car company called Infiniti.... With over 3,000 breweries in America, litigation over brands and trademarks is an issue that continues to grow, facing both small companies like In'finiti as well as larger ones like Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada, who recently came close to a legal battle.
The Michauds have taken the opportunity to tweak the layout and concept along with the brand. Sources say Will Sears, the sign artist who works closely with Oxbow Brewing Co., is involved in the redesign; so far it seems only unfinished sketches are available. In'finiti's raised dining platform has been lowered and the new Liquid Riot will have more of a modern tasting room and bar atmosphere than a brew pub feel, though the kitchen will still turn out snacks and full meals.
So why the switch from "Fermentation and Distillation" to "Bottling Co." at the end of the name? Eric told Eater with a smile, "Fermentation and Distillation proved too hard for the average person to understand, we're just not a very educated society these days. And I like the idea of a riot in a bottle. We've always had to bottle our spirits, of which more will be available this winter. We hope to bottle more beer as we grow, but in the sense of 'bottle' meaning 'to package,' we package all our beer whether it be in a bottle, keg, or fermentor. So we're a bit of a bottling company, so to speak."
For fans of the beer being produced in the waterfront facility, head brewer Greg Abbot assured Eater, "The same bad ass gangster brewers will remain, for the record." Righteous.
Read the full press release below. Liquid Riot Bottling Co. opens today at 3 p.m., and will resume In'finiti's regular hours, which are Monday - Tuesday 3 p.m. - 11ish [sic] p.m., Wednesday - Thursday and Sunday 12 p.m. - 11ish p.m., and Friday - Saturday 12 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Liquid Riot Bottling Company
In'finiti is not forever! At the inception of our business there was no other brewery or distillery named infinity in any form. Things have changed. Within the last year multiple businesses have opened, some near, some far, and have come to threaten our identity and our success as In'finiti Fermentation and Distillation. At first we speculated that the companies in question may not have been aware of our existence here in little ol' Portland, but after multiple phone calls it became clear that they knew of us first hand. Regardless, they went ahead with the same name (imitation is the highest form of flattery?), so we employed lawyers and tried to come up with a way to preserve our name and logo. Our options were not altogether ideal. Due to a lack of trademark we either had to spend mass amounts of time and money suing a nearby company, simply ignore our growing ambiguity, or come up with a new name. Though it has been a hard decision to come to, with the wish to be distinctive from other breweries and tap houses across the country, we are proud to rebrand ourselves as Liquid Riot Bottling Company. This unique name (that will be trademarked) will allow us to protect our growing business and carve out our own identity. And yes, there is a story to that name. Search for the Portland Rum Riot and the Chicago Beer Riot to give you an idea of the riots that people have started in the name of alcoholic liquids.
Part of the new identity of Liquid Riot is the "tasting room." The raised dining area of In'finiti has been removed in order to open up the space and bring the room together on one level. Instead of a "restaurant" which typically has a focus on food, we now have a "tasting room" where one can focus on the taste of our cocktails made from our house-made spirits and the taste of our beer brewed on premise. To accompany these offerings we will have tasty, fresh food prepared in our kitchen. You can still get a full meal or just apps and snacks, just as you can still get an array of intoxicatingly delicious liquids. Our products are not changing, just the name, a little bit of the layout, and the idea of what that space provides.
We are lucky and grateful that both local Portlanders and visitors alike have supported In'finiti and helped to make it a successful business. We hope for the same support moving forward as Liquid Riot Bottling Company.
Cheers and thank you Portland!
Eric & Julie Michaud