Landry Distillery Slapped with Trademark Lawsuit by Landry’s Files

Posted on: October 24, 2023, 11:42h. 

Last updated on: October 24, 2023, 11:42h.

Landry’s, Inc., the hospitality and gaming conglomerate privately owned by billionaire Tilman Fertitta, has initiated legal action against an Austin-based distillery that produces small-batch bourbon.

Landry's Landry Distillery Tilman Fertitta
Landry Distillery is defending its claimed right to use the surname of its founder, Zack Landry, in its bourbon brand. The name’s use is being challenged in federal court by Landry’s, Inc., which is owned by billionaire Tilman Fertitta. (Image: Landry Distillery)

Landry Distillery was established by Zach Landry in 2020. Landry, a Texan and third-generation owner of quarter horses, created the distillery as a tribute to his grandfather and their shared appreciation for exceptional and rare bourbons.

Landry Distillery produces Landry Oaks Rye and Landry Stakes Bourbon, which are available at various liquor stores in the Houston area.

Fertitta’s extensive business empire, Landry’s, encompasses a range of restaurant brands, including Morton’s, Chart House, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Landry’s Seafood House, McCormick and Schmick’s, and Joe’s Crab Shack. Additionally, Landry’s is the parent company of Fertitta’s five Golden Nugget casinos in Nevada, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and owns Wildwood Casino Cripple Creek in Colorado.

Fertitta is also the owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and his net worth exceeds $8 billion, according to Forbes.

Disputing a Name

Fertitta, who was present at last night’s Houston Astros game seven loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the American League Championship Series, is contesting the use of the Landry name by Landry Distillery.

The Landry surname is prevalent in Texas and throughout much of the country, particularly the southern region. In fact, earlier this month, Louisiana voters elected Republican Jeff Landry as the state’s next governor.

According to the Houston Chronicle, there are numerous unrelated businesses in Texas that also include the Landry name. These establishments operate in various industries, ranging from petroleum to accounting services.

Fertitta’s Landry’s pays homage to Bill and Floyd Landry, the original owners of the first Landry’s Seafood on Houston’s Westside. Fertitta acquired the Landrys’ stake in the mid-1980s while retaining the name for his expanding hospitality empire.

Landry’s filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Landry Distillery in March. The case was initially filed in Harris County court but has since been transferred to federal court under the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

In August, Landry Distillery submitted a motion to dismiss the case, but a ruling on the request by Presiding Judge Robert Pitman is still pending.

Landry Distillery has also filed a countersuit against Landry’s, seeking a declaratory judgment action to affirm its legal right to continue using its Distillery Marks.

Progress with Strip Plans

Fertitta already has a presence in Las Vegas through his downtown Golden Nugget property, but the billionaire is aiming for a larger share of the world’s most lucrative gaming market.

In addition to owning a 6.1% stake in Wynn Resorts, Fertitta paid $270 million last year to acquire a prime 6.2-acre site along the Las Vegas Strip. The strip mall and Travelodge motel on the property have since been demolished, making way for a potential integrated casino resort.

Details regarding the specific development on the site have not yet been disclosed. However, economic factors such as high borrowing rates and elevated construction costs could potentially slow down the project’s progress.

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