Hartford's City Steam targeted in lawsuit - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford's City Steam targeted in lawsuit

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(citysteam.biz photo) (citysteam.biz photo)
(citysteam.biz photo) (citysteam.biz photo)

A popular restaurant and brewery in Hartford could have to change its name as part of a lawsuit.

The Anchor Brewing Company, which makes a beer called "Anchor Steam", filed the suit against the City Steam Brewery, according to court records.

The suit was filed on Jan. 27 in New Haven Federal Court after name negotiations broke down between the two companies.

City Steam has declined to comment on the suit.

Anchor Brewing, which is from San Francisco, said it's been using the registered trademark "Steam Beer" for decades and asked a judge to make City Steam drop the usage.

Anchor has a brief description of why it uses the word "steam" on its website.

"Anchor Steam Beer derives its unusual name from the 19th century when 'steam' was a nickname for beer brewed on the West Coast of America under primitive conditions and without ice. While the origin of the name remains shrouded in mystery, it likely relates to the original practice of fermenting the beer on San Francisco's rooftops in a cool climate. In lieu of ice, the foggy night air naturally cooled the fermenting beer, creating steam off the warm open pans. Once a nickname for any Californian or West Coast beer brewed under these conditions, today the name "steam" is a trademark of Anchor Brewing and applies only to the singular process and taste of our flagship brand - San Francisco's original Anchor Steam Beer. The classic of American brewing tradition since 1896."

As for City Steam, it started out as a comedy venue in 1987, according to its website. It was renovated and renamed as the City Steam Brewery Café in 1997.

It also provided a brief online history of the steaming history.

"When steam was introduced to the brewing process in the mid-1800's, it was the epitome of modernization. No more stoking fires or shoveling coal to keep the kettles boiling! All a brew master had to do was turn a few valves and the vapor started rolling. Better yet, steam provided a faster, more consistent flow of heat and, in turn, a better brew of beer."

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