A New York microbrewery learned never to underestimate the power of the Dark Side this week when the Sith Lords at San-Francisco-based Lucasfilm requested it stop hocking "Empire’s Strikes Bock" beer. We can't have anything fun with Disney driving the Death Star.
Apparently, Syracuse-based brewery Empire Brewing Company serves a "Strikes Bock" spring lager, or, "Empire's Strikes Bock," at its onsite brewpub. This, of course, sounds quite a bit like The Empire Strikes Back, which is the Star Wars series' fifth episode and inarguably the greatest cinematic 127 minutes of all time.
Empire Brewing Co. has reportedly tried to trademark this punny brew and serve it outside its own pub, but both Star Wars creator George Lucas and company Lucasfilm—now under the watchful eye of the White-Gloved Mouse—is reportedly not so pleased about it. They've filed a legal notice against the brewery to get them to stop using the name over concerns that it would "cause confusion," since the beer's not actually associated with the official Star Wars brand, and Lucas makes his own Star Wars-themed wine.
Brewery owner David Katleski told reporters they've been making the beer for seven years, and this is the first time Lucasfilm's taken issue with it. But the Star Wars 2.0 hype is just starting to ratchet up, Han Solo is cool again (HE WAS ALWAYS COOL) and now's a good time to make a buck off a beer with the tagline "May the hops be with you."
A spokesperson from Empire Brewing Co. provided us with the following statement:
Empire Brewing Company is aware of the Lucasfilm objection to the naming of 'Strikes Bock'. This popular seasonal Maibock lager has been on draft for several years. It was never our intention to "increase confusion," but instead to simply pay homage to a great film, as many have done before. We don't believe that the name of our beer, 'Strikes Bock', infringes on any copyright laws. We at Empire Brewing are huge Star War fans and we hope that Lucasfilm will come to recognize ’Strikes Bock' as parody, the sincerest form of flattery. Empire Brewing Company remains committed to running our business ethically and strives for excellence.
Lucasfilm has not responded to a request for comment at publication time, so perhaps hope still remains this blogger's Jedi Knight Restaurant dreams, which would be just like any memorabilia-heavy Fisherman-s Wharf restaurant, but with levitating food and musical performances by the Mos Eisley band, could remain undashed.