Well, it looks like Pusser’s Rum has won its case against the Lower East Side tiki bar formerly known as Painkiller. According to The Lo-Down, the bar was forced to change its name after the rum company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit earlier this year. But will patrons really start referring to the tiki bar as PKNY, as it has now been renamed? “Probably not, at least for a while,” says one customer.
The issue of whether a cocktail can be copyrighted has come up before. The distillery says it invented the Painkiller cocktail and therefore retains all rights to the name. In the lawsuit, it claimed “irreparable damage” to its brand as a result of Painkiller (and, presumably, any number of tiki bars) using the boozy rum cocktail’s name. The idea is at odds with the fraternal relationship between bartenders in this town and the lawsuit has even caused a group of bartenders and cocktailians to boycott Pusser’s. Sharing cocktail recipes is something of a cornerstone of the cocktail community in New York. It’s a shame Pusser’s didn’t quite get that.