Fort Bragg-based brewery North Coast Brewing is in some hot water with the estate of the late jazz pianist Thelonious Monk over their apparently unauthorized use of Monk's name and likeness on merchandise sold by the brewery promoting their Belgian-style abbey ale named Brother Thelonious. As Reuters reports, jazz drummer T.S. Monk administers his father's estate and brought the lawsuit, citing a letter dated in January 2016 in which he revoked permission for the use of Thelonious Monk's name and likeness after finding out that in addition to bottles of beer, the brewery was selling 17 other related items like t-shirts, CDs, tap handles, hoodies, and mouse pads all bearing the Brother Thelonious logo. The lawsuit claims that the brewery has done nothing to stop selling the items in the intervening 19 months, and this has done "irreparable" harm to the estate.
The Monk Estate initially granted permission for using Monk's name and likeness on the beer labels, and this was apparently done verbally by T.S. Monk himself. But now, as Eater notes, the estate is seeking $75,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, and they want a merchandising agreement for the sale of all these other promotional items.
North Coast Brewing has its own association with jazz, hosting jazz performances at the brewery, and making Brother Thelonious the "the Official Beer of the Newport Jazz Festival" in Rhode Island. They also produced a CD with the Claire Daly Quartet called Baritone Monk, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to further international Jazz education programs the place where they also donate a portion of the proceeds of every bottle of Brother Thelonious.
Thelonious Monk died in 1982 at the age of 64. He would have turned 100 years old this October 10.