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Something is brewing at Ravinia, and it’s neither a frosty lager nor a headlining musician.
It’s a neighborhood battle over the usage of the term Ravinia, a dispute that led Ravinia Festival to file a federal lawsuit against Ravinia Brewing Company on Oct. 25.
The suit (which you could find by scrolling to the underside of this text) contends that Ravinia Brewing Company broke a 2018 agreement between the 2 parties and has used the protected Ravinia trademark to intentionally mislead consumers and reap the advantages, financially and otherwise.
“Defendants have falsely implied (and proceed to falsely imply) an association with Ravinia (Festival) and its well-known RAVINIA (trademark). From all appearances, this false implication is intentional,” the lawsuit says.
In response to its lawsuit, Ravinia Festival is requesting a trial by jury and demanding that Ravinia Brewing stop from using the term “Ravinia,” recall its products from its distribution channels and take away its marketing materials that use the term. It is usually asking for financial restitution for any advantages gained through the use of the Ravinia name.
Ravinia Brewing Company opened its Highland Park location in 2018.
Ravinia Brewing Company has fired back. The local brewery released an announcement via its social media platforms on Wednesday, Nov. 8, difficult the allegations.
Within the statement, Ravinia Brewing accuses Ravinia Festival — a nationally renowned entertainment venue — of attempting to “intimidate” and possibly profit off the brewing company.
“Ravinia Festival’s suit is groundless and easily meant to bully us into submission through deep-pockets and lawyers,” the post reads. “We vehemently deny all of their legal claims and stand by our ability to proceed to serve our customers through award-winning food, beer and community engagement.”
Ravinia Festival’s roots date back to 1904, in line with its website, and the Ravinia Festival Association, the nonprofit that operates the festival, was incorporated in 1936.
The term Ravinia goes back further. In 1872, a community south of a newly incorporated Highland Park was named Ravinia — after the realm’s trademark ravines — in line with a history of the realm by Elliott Miller and published by the Ravinia Neighbors Association.
The City of Highland Park swallowed the realm in 1899, however the Ravinia neighborhood stays a historic district in the town that’s home to a train station, a TIF district, Ravinia Festival and diverse other businesses, including not less than 4 others that use the Ravinia moniker: Ravinia Reading Center; Ravinia Books, Antiques, Etc.; Ravinia Barber Shop; and Ravinia Tutors.
In response to the lawsuit, the Ravinia Festival Association received a federal trademark for Ravinia Festival as an entertainment and dining enterprise in 2002 and one other trademark for just Ravinia in 2011.
Ravinia Brewing Company — co-owned by Kris Walker and Jeff Hoobler, a recently elected Highland Park councilmember — began distributing beer in 2017 and opened its Highland Park taproom and taco bar in 2018 at 582 Roger Williams Ave.
That yr, the lawsuit states, it entered into an agreement with Ravinia Festival to make use of the Ravinia name under certain conditions, equivalent to printing “Brewing Company” at a selected size on its products and including a disclaimer on marketing materials to clarify its disassociation with Ravinia Festival.
We’ve a legal and moral right to make use of the Ravinia Brewing mark. … And it’s our hope that the values of our community can once and for all be exhibited through peaceful co-existence.”
Ravinia Brewing Company’s response to the lawsuit
Within the lawsuit, Ravinia Festival alleges the brewing company has repeatedly violated the conditions of the agreement and intentionally misled consumers to consider its products are connected Ravinia Festival.
The lawsuit claims the brewing company’s violations include launching a music-themed beer, Key Strokes; and opening a Chicago location that was not related to the 2018 agreement.
“Defendants’ activities intentionally create customer confusion, leading the general public to consider erroneously that Defendants’ businesses are affiliated with, sponsored or endorsed by, or related to Ravinia and/or that supporting Defendants’ businesses advantages the charitable and academic work and purposes of Ravinia,” the lawsuit says.
The brewing company says that it has not heard a grievance from the festival within the five years because the initial agreement was established; nonetheless, in August, the festival approached the brewery with its concerns but disregarded the brewery’s proposed solutions, in line with the the brewery’s statement.
The statement also says that Ravinia Festival has a history of attempting to “beat up” Ravinia Brewing and has touted its significant resources.
“The have made it known to us that, in consequence of their donors, they’re fortunate to have the ‘most costly lawyers within the country,” the brewery says in its statement.
The entertainment venue says that annually it attracts about 600,000 guests over 120 events, equivalent to top-shelf live shows (John Legend, Carrie Underwood, etc.), family movie nights and orchestra shows.
In response to Ravinia Festival Association’s tax filings, it brought in $9.46 million in net income ($43.24 million revenue, $33.78 million expenses) in 2021 and claimed net assets of $225.64 million. Nearly $23 million, or 53%, of its revenue comes from contributions, while $13.3 million, or 31%, comes from programming. The association brought in $46.89 million but lost $2.67 million in 2019, the last yr before the COVID-19 pandemic, its filings say.
Ravinia Festival officials didn’t immediately return a call from The Record.
News of the lawsuit has began passionate conversations inside the community. A post on NextDoor had dozens of reactions and comments as of Thursday afternoon, as did Ravinia Brewing’s Facebook post.
“We’ve a legal and moral right to make use of the Ravinia Brewing mark,” says Ravinia Brewings’s statement. “We remain open to constructive dialogue with the festival — and it’s our hope that the values of our community can once and for all be exhibited through peaceful co-existence.”