Hershey Demands Settlement From Small Brewery For Using Milk Duds In Beer Recipe

Paper and Lens Co/Shutterstock

Andrew Jose Contributor
Font Size:

Candy manufacturing giant The Hershey Company has demanded Side Lot Brewing, a small brewery in the suburbs of Chicago, pay a settlement over alleged trademark law violations.

The small business Side Lot, the only brewery in Wauconda, a town nearly 30 miles northwest of Chicago, landed in legal hot water after it offered pale ale made with Hershey’s Jolly Ranchers and a Milk Duds porter, as part of its Halloween specials, according to CBS Sacramento

News of Side Lot’s unlicensed offerings eventually reached a law firm representing Hershey’s after the problematic products featured on the brewery’s website and social media accounts, CBS Sacramento reported. 

Hershey’s then sent Side Lot owner Phil Castello a cease and desist letter for using its trademarked candies, according to the outlet. (RELATED: As Coronavirus Crippled Small Businesses, Some Lenders Pounced)

“It was scary!” Castello recollecting the letter’s arrival, told CBS Sacramento. “You know, this is the year with anybody in the hospitality business, like you don’t need another surprise.”

Castello further told the outlet that he had complied with Hershey’s demands, including getting rid of the disputed beer product and reporting sales numbers. 

However, on Monday, Castello received another letter demanding him to pay Hershey’s the money he made from the unlicensed beer for a settlement. 

“I was just kind of angry,” Castello told CBS Sacramento. “It’s like Hershey’s is this billion-dollar corporation, and they’re worried about a thousand square-foot bar that over two years made a little over $8,000 by saying we used Jolly Ranchers in beer.”

According to WBBM Legal Analyst Irv Miller, trademark law does not discriminate on the grounds of a business’ size. 

“If you use a name that’s protected, you have to suffer the consequences,” Miller explained. “In any situation like this, you have to make a decision – do I want to fight it? Do I want to settle it? Do I want to somehow compromise it?”

Castello would love to compromise, CBS Sacramento reported.