Published June 16, 2016
PEMBROKE, NORTH CAROLINA — On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina filed a lawsuit in the federal court after a local beer distributor used its logo above beer coolers in several local stores in Lumberton and Raeford, North Carolina. The lawsuit was filed against Anheuser-Busch and R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company.
Along with the tribe’s logo, the lawsuit alleges the tribe’s “Heritage, Pride & Strength” slogan was used without its permission for marketing Budweiser and Bud Light products. The lawsuit says the false impression that there is an affiliation between the Lumbee Tribe, Anheuser-Busch and the local beer distributor.
Members of the Tribe and others in the community mistakenly believed that the Lumbee Tribe gave its permission for the Tribe’s name and trademarks to be used to sell alcoholic beverages and were offended because alcohol abuse is often associated with Native American culture, according to a statement by the tribe.
R.A. Jeffreys has taken down the offensive marketing.
On Wednesday, R.A. Jeffreys released the following statement:
“R.A. Jeffreys regrets any offense that may have been taken to the use of the materials in which the Lumbee Tribe claims an interest, and R.A. Jeffreys will not make any further use of such materials unless specifically permitted to do so by the Lumbee Tribe, “ the distributor said in a statement. “R.A. Jeffreys values and respects the heritage of the communities in which its customers live and work.”
A spokesperson for the St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch said the company was not aware of the marketing by the local beer distributor and did not comment on the merits of the lawsuit.
Now that the marketing has been taken down, it was not known at press time if the tribe will drop the lawsuit.