Bengaluru-based whisky maker John Distilleries, which produces the mass-market whisky brand ‘Original Choice,’ is upset about a new brand in the market. It went to court recently challenging the Excise Department giving license to another manufacturer to sell whisky under the brand name ‘Green Choice’.
However, the High Court has said there was no irregularity in the Excise Department giving license to a new manufacturer following the rules. John Distilleries had claimed that since the two names are similar its brand and market will be affected. But the High Court said deciding on the brand names is not within the scope of the court.
Whisky by any other brand name is not really the same, every tippler will tell you. And genuine drinkers can easily tell their local whisky from scotch. But Original Choice is not a scotch nor is the new brand Green Choice. Both target the low-income group with these relatively cheaper whiskies. Original Choice retails at Rs.291 for a full bottle in Bengaluru.
The Commissioner of Excise in Karnataka has permitted the brand name ‘Green Choice’ to be used by Empee Distilleries Ltd. Empee Distilleries already sells their whisky under the new brand name in Andhra Pradesh since 2019.
The High Court refused John Distilleries’ allegation of infringement of trademark saying, “I refuse in this case to examine the details of the alleged infringement of the trademark and its consequence thereof. My reason is obvious that such an examination by this Court is outside the purview of Article 226 of the Constitution of India.”