Photo: MrToon 2017, Scott Olson (YouTube, Getty Images)

This story starts out as a ho-hum tale of liquor-industry legal wranglingā€”then shit gets weird.

Hereā€™s the (pretty normal) backstory: Whiskey maker The Wild Geese sued Bacardi for trademark infringement in 2016, accusing the booze giant of infringing on The Wild Geeseā€™s claim to the phrase ā€œuntamedā€ when it launched its ā€œBacardi Untameableā€ campaign. (This was reported by World Intellectual Property Review, always at the top of our reading lists.)

Thatā€™s pretty standard corporate legal fisticuffs. Then the situation devolves: In court filings, the parent company of The Wild Geeseā€”Lodestarā€”claims Lodestarā€™s chairman and wife suspect Bacardi of following them. World Intellectual Property Review goes on to say: ā€œThe Wild Geese alleged that it took Bacardi months to respond [to claims] and when it did, Bacardi did not deny the accusation, but said that it was ā€˜not aware of any surveillance.ā€™ā€

Bacardi is now pushing back harder against the spying accusations, stating The Wild Geese are resorting to ā€œname-calling and conspiracy theories to improperly influence these proceedings, publicly harass and defame [Bacardi].ā€

Spying! Conspiracies! Intrigue! Itā€™s like a Thomas Pynchon novel unfolding before us, except with mediocre rum in the mix. Stalking and invasion of privacy are no laughing matters, of course, even when the whole situation has an air of the absurd about it.

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Our takeaway from this entire debacle is that the world of booze marketing is way more cutthroat than we ever imagined, and weā€™re glad to be just humble little food writers that no one is interested in spying on.