Summit Seltzer — Charlotte’s first seltzer brewery — is changing its name and rebranding. Moving forward, call it “The Bevery.”
Of note: The brewery will still serve its popular seltzers on draft. And it’s still owned by the same family who opened it nearly three years ago.
The family made the tough decision to rebrand largely because of a trademark dispute over the name “Summit,” which the owners of a brewery in another state claim they own the rights to.
- “At this point, there are no hard feelings,” owner Kristin Cagney tells Axios.
Context: The family says they did their due diligence before opening the Summit Seltzer in 2020, even applying for trademarks in several categories.
- More than a year after Summit opened, the other brewery challenged its trademark, filing an opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
- “At first, since we did everything right, we didn’t think they had much of a case,” Cagney said.
- But, after the legal battle carried on for more than a year, Cagney’s family says they had no choice but to change their name.
“We don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on legal fees,” Cagney said. “[The money] is coming from our parent’s retirement.”
Why it matters: Summit Seltzer is one of Charlotte’s most well-known beverage brands. You can find their cans in Trader Joe’s, Lowes Foods and local markets.
- The rebrand means changing everything — from the can labels on store shelves to the signage outside their Wesley Heights building.
Zoom in: The Bevery remains a family-owned and operated business.
- “My mom’s my CPA, my brother’s our distribution rep, I’m the manager of everything and my dad runs some of our sales drops,” Cagney said.
Flashback: This isn’t the first time the local seltzer brand has had legal issues over its name. Just weeks before opening in 2020, Cagney had to change the name of the taproom because the term “seltzery” is trademarked by San Juan Seltzer in Seattle, Axios’ Emma Way reported.
- San Juan Seltzer sent cease-and-desist letters to at least three hard seltzer companies, including Summit, telling them they can’t call themselves a “seltzery,” Axios’ Melissa Santos reported.
What’s next: The name change goes into effect on June 1. The business will mostly stay the same, but The Bevery will expand its food and beverage offerings.
- In addition to seltzer, beer and wine — which Summit has served for the last three years — The Bevery will serve cocktails, beer and nonalcoholic drinks.
- Local chef and Johnson and Wales grad Jzhanece Frierson is designing the menu, which will launch in July.
- The Bevery will also continue to host live music events and local vendor markets.
Details: The Bevery is located at 2215 Thrift Road.
- It’s open Mondays 4-10pm, Wednesdays 6-11pm, Thursdays 4-10pm, Friday-Saturday 1-11pm and Sundays 1-6pm. Closed on Tuesdays.