When it comes to beer, Missoula doesn’t mess around. Neither, apparently, does its breweries. On Dec. 20, Big Sky Brewing Co. filed a lawsuit in federal court against Anheuser-Busch
, alleging that the brewing Goliath stole its trademarked meme, “Hold my beer and watch this,” for a Bud Light campaign directed by actor John Krasinski. The makers of Moose Drool and Scape Goat argued in the suit that they trademarked the slogan in 2009 and, as such, Anheuser-Busch unlawfully used it in a series of promotional videos released on YouTube. Krasinski, who’s best known for his role in “The Office,” created the Bud Light videos in an effort to, as The New York Times put it, feature “the opposite of what typically goes on in beer ads that celebrate dudes and bros.” In one video, titled “Nana,” an elderly woman celebrating her 100th birthday asks a partygoer to, “Hold my beer and watch this,” before feigning death.
In the days after Anheuser-Busch released the videos, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal highlighted the series as an example of Anheuser-Busch’s increasingly contemporary approach to advertising. Locals, meanwhile, grumbled that the world’s largest brewer shouldn’t be allowed to get away with stealing from the little guy. And it didn’t. One month after Big Sky sued, Anheuser-Busch removed its “Hold my beer” videos.