By James Atkinson
Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) is poised to re-introduce limited quantities of several of its heritage beer brands as a dispute over the company's trademarks continues before a tribunal today.
TheShout understands that CUB has approached publicans about pouring White Horse, a beer previously produced by Tooth & Co, the NSW brewer whose assets were sold to CUB in 1983.
Sources say White Horse is the first of several brands set for a limited heritage release on draught in May and June.
Other beers believed to be under consideration for release include McCracken's, of the McCracken Brewery that amalgamated with several others to form CUB in the early 1900s.
NQ Lager, previously produced by the Great Northern Brewery in Cairns (acquired by CUB in 1931), may also get a release.
A CUB spokeswoman said it's too early to comment on the upcoming heritage beer releases, which are part of the company's regular heritage release programme and coincidental to its current legal dispute with Thunder Road Brewing over many of CUB's currently unused beer trademarks.
Thunder Road owner Philip Withers aims to seize more than 60 trademarks held by CUB's parent company Foster's under a 'use it or lose it' guideline contained within Australian trademark law.
They include the abovementioned NQ Lager and McCracken's brands as well as Ballarat Bitter, Cairns Draught, Brisbane Bitter, Kent Old Brown and Richmond Lager.
The dispute before the registrar of trademarks at Intellectual Property Australia is expected to conclude today.
CUB said in a statement: "We understand the passion Philip Withers has for beer however we reckon Thunder Road has an opportunity to develop its own beer story and its own stable of brands."
"CUB is proud of its heritage – we don't want to hand over a stable of great heritage brands that we’ve built up over many decades," the company said.
"It would be a bit like someone trying to take away 'Monaro' from Holden just because they didn’t roll one off the production for a couple of years."
The CUB spokeswoman said the company hopes to release details on the upcoming release of heritage brews in the coming weeks.