Youtube / Left Hand Brewery
Colorado's Left Hand Brewery makes some unique — and tasty — craft beers. And in 2011, the brewery became the first in the nation to bottle a beer using nitrogen gas in place of carbon dioxide. Nitrogen gives beer a creamier texture, making it perfect for the brand's highly-regarded milk stout. Hence, the Milk Stout Nitro was born.
But with the craft beer market booming, Left Hand wants to protect its creation. So, as the Denver Post points out, the brewery is trying to trademark the word "nitro" as it applies to beer, as well as "milk stout nitro."
That a brewery would feel it necessary to protect a word that is really just shorthand for "nitrogen" might seem funny; imagine if, say, Budweiser tried to trademark "refreshing." But plenty of breweries pour nitrogen-infused beer on draft, and they may be leery of a single brewery having the rights to what's essentially a descriptor. So to assuage a mini-backlash from beer aficionados concerned that an esteemed craft brewer was trying to squelch would-be competitors, Left Hand clarified in a statement that it is only trying to "protect the name of our best selling products," and "not the style — not nitrogenated beers."