A lawsuit filed by Big Sky Brewing Co. alleging trademark infringement by Anheuser-Busch has been voluntarily dismissed.

Under an amicable agreement, Big Sky agreed to drop the lawsuit in exchange for Anheuser-Busch taking down popular Bud Light videos posted to YouTube that used the phrase, “Hold my beer and watch this,” said Lisa Weser, communications director for the St. Louis-headquartered brewer.

A Dec. 9 letter filed in U.S. District Court in Missoula and sent from Big Sky’s lawyer to Anheuser-Busch, which is owned by Belgium company InBev, demanded the larger company cease using the phrase in its YouTube videos. The videos did not appear on television but garnered millions of views online before being taken down last week.

Later in December, Big Sky filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch saying the Missoula brewery had been using the phrase since 2004 and had trademarked it for beer and alcohol uses in 2009.

According to court documents, Big Sky dropped the lawsuit Wednesday.

In an earlier interview, one of Big Sky’s founders, Bjorn Nabozney, said his company had no ill will toward the larger company and hoped to reach a solution outside of court. At the same time, Big Sky wanted to ensure that the use of the phrase in Bud Light videos didn’t cause confusion about associations between the two companies or a misconception that Big Sky had taken the phrase from Anheuser-Busch.

The phrase appears on the side of Big Sky IPA cans and is used in other merchandise, Nabozney said. The company produced about 50,000 barrels of beer in 2013.

Weser maintained that the use of the phrase in the Bud Light videos did not constitute trademark infringement by Anheuser-Busch, which commands more than 47 percent of the U.S. beer market.

However, there are no immediate plans to use the phrase again. Instead, the company will focus on its Super Bowl advertising campaign and a new Bud Light creative campaign, Weser said.

The agreement did not involve any financial component, she added.

A lawyer for Big Sky Brewing declined to comment.

Reporter Alice Miller can be reached at 523-5251 or at alice.miller@missoulian.com.

(5) comments

Clark Kent
Clark Kent

I'll drink to that! :)

note: the "I'll drink to that" phrase and all associated connotations are a trademark of United Breweries of Montana. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is a figment of the drinker's imagination and not a reflection of Justin Bieber's driving ability.


So was a PR stunt for Big Sky - get some press out of the whole deal and maybe get alittle new business out of it all.


I love Big Sky Brewery, but trademarking a phrase that has been part of my vernacular since the 1980s is as ridiculous as Paws Up trying to trademark "The Last Best Place." The joke, "what's the last thing a redneck says before he dies?" (Hold my beer and watch this!) has been around LONGER than Big Sky brewery!! certifiably re-DONK!

Objective observer
Objective observer

You hit the nail on the head with your comment. Spot on!


Agreed. Makes you just wanna go out and file lots of frivolous suits. Big Sky, in my opinion, came away looking absolutely foolish in all this.

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