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After four years of uncertainty, Kelowna’s oldest and largest craft distillery can continue to use their brand name.
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Urban Distilleries has won a lengthy court dispute with the city of Terrace and Kitasoo Band Council over the use of the Spirit Bear name. A decision announced by a Federal Court Judge on Tuesday found that both the City of Terrace and Kitasoo Band Council’s Official Marks for the Spirit Bear name were invalid and had not been properly registered. Both parties were also ordered to pay costs to Urban Distilleries.
Mike Urban, Owner and Master Distiller, was asked by the city and band council to stop using the Spirit Bear mark in 2011, but he refused knowing a rebranding would cost thousands and potentially sink his business.
The Spirit Bear Gin and Vodka products were named as a tribute to the official mammal of British Columbia. To help protect the animal, Urban Distilleries donated partial proceeds of every liquor store sale and the $5 tastings to the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition.