Goodbye 'Moon Man': Whitehorse's Winterlong Brewing to lose logo in trademark muddle

They call him Moon Man.

Moon Man is a veteran of Whitehorse's Winterlong Brewing Co., ever since the microbrewery first opened shop two years ago.

He was a fan of everything Winterlong — mugs, hoodies, T-shirts, bottle caps and even baby onesies — leaving his mark on all of the merchandise.

But Moon Man — the company's smiling moon logo — has been fading from view, most recently having been erased from the brewery's tap handles. That's because a logo trademark incident, involving a B.C. microbrewery, has forced Moon Man out.

Winterlong Brewing is in a state of mourning, according to co-owner Marko Marjanovic.

"We're still in the grieving period right now," said Marjanovic, about the slow, months-long retirement of the "yellow, welcoming, chubby face."

'We thought we were sort of a kindred spirit'

Moon Man's exile was a couple of years in the making.

When a brewer from Dageraad Brewing in Burnaby, B.C. visited the Yukon, he noticed the similarity between Moon Man and his own employer's logo.

"We were like OK, cool, that's awesome," said Marjanovic. "We thought we were sort of a kindred spirit."

Fast forward a year and a half, to when Marjanovic gets an email with some disheartening news.

"They kindly sent us an email saying, 'you know it was cool having the same logo for a while, but we trademarked ours, and it'd be nice if you could stop using yours,'" Marjanovic recalled.

"We don't want to be litigious, or push other breweries around," said Ben Coli, owner of Dageraad Brewing which will celebrate its third anniversary next month.

"At the same time, we have to protect our [moon]. It's an important part of our brand," said Coli, explaining that dageraad means daybreak, or dawn, in Flemish.

Marjanovic said because microbreweries are increasingly popular, simply Googling a logo idea isn't enough to guarantee its originality.

"There's a lot of breweries popping up… So even if we try now to think [of] a new logo, I don't even know where we'd start."

Marjanovic said he won't pursue a legal case, for financial reasons. Instead, his company will slowly phase the moon out by selling off the merchandise. Dageraad Brewing agreed to the plan.

"We've got 70,000 bottle caps to go, but we're on our way there," Marjanovic said.

New logo? Too soon

Meanwhile, the Whitehorse brewery is expanding.

"We bought another brewing system, which is over double of what we had before," said Marjanovic. "I keep telling myself 'we're not expanding', and then every six months, we run out of beer."

Marjanovic says he's not in a rush to develop a new logo, to respect the remnants of Moon Man still lingering.

"It would be a little taboo to put something out while he's still around."

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