With all of the Star Wars parodies out there in the world, you wouldn’t think that Lucasfilm would balk at a beer paying respects to the most successful film franchise on the planet. Yet, they’re currently bringing a lawsuit against New York-based Empire Brewing for their product Strikes Bock, and Empire is being a “trooper” about the whole thing, as you can see in the video below.
Empire Brewing Company owner David Katleski has a sincere message for Lucasfilm (as well as anyone else who thinks this is infringement): it’s just an homage, folks. Does anyone really think that the best way to steal money from the Star Wars franchise is to make a punny-titled potable? No, it’s just Katleski and his squad showing their love in the way that they’re professionally best capable of handling it.
So he brought in a Stormtrooper to pull vat-stirring duties in the background of this plea video. It’s amusing to see one of these violent space gangsters calmly getting his menial duty on, though we’d prefer not to consider the logistics of stirring pre-beer with a lightsaber. It seems like that would make more of a mess than necessary.
With second banana (and Wookee impersonator) Tim Butler at his side, Katleski explains that Empire has been putting a draft version of Strikes Bock out there for customers for years, and that they are now looking to get into the bottled distribution of said beer. It’s during this trademarking period that Lucasfilm showed their interest by suing the company, saying it sounds too much like The Empire Strikes Back and could cause customer confusion over it possibly being an officially licensed Star Wars product. Does anyone think that Lucasfilm would use a clever name if they ever put a beer out? Nope. That shit would be called “Star Wars-licensed Beer Product,” just to make sure people knew what was going on.
So Empire is presenting its product legally as a parody, since that’s a lot easier for lawmakers to accept than an evil, Lucasfilm-milking company insistent on confusing Americans about its beer licensing origins. They say the beer is actually called Strikes Bock by Empire anyway.
This is hardly the first time alcohol and sci-fi have mixed, though Hollywood has largely kept its lawyers’ noses out of it all. There was the Walking Dead beer and a whole host of Star Trek booze types, from wine to beer. Hell, we’re even sending whisky to space to see how that goes.
I may or may not be in the process of creating my own beer called Episode IV: A New Hefeweizen. But until that comes to light, let us know in the comments who you think is right in this argument, Empire or Lucasfilm.