Please let New Orleans’ “Huge Ass Beer” lawsuit reach the Supreme Court

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Just before New Orleans’ most important weekend (pre-Mardi Gras), all is not well on Bourbon Street. A particular argument has been simmering for years, and has now boiled over into the full-on legal case of Huge Ass Beer v. Giant Ass Beer. This suit is sure to go down in the history books for the number of times the phrase “Ass Beer” appears in its text. I am no legal scholar, but I do know a thing or two about big ass beers. Here is what is at the core of Huge Ass Beer v. Giant Ass Beer.

Per The New Orleans Advocate, the trademark for Huge Ass Beers belongs to one Nicholas S. Karno #1 Inc., which operates multiple Bourbon Street bars. Said bars—the Steak Pit, Prohibition, and Cornet—offer oversized and novelty pours of beer in branded Huge Ass Beer mugs. This Huge Ass Beer is classy stuff, folks, as you can tell by the website photo of a tip jar that reads: “Keep Us Off The Pole [with] ‘Huge Ass Tips’” or the Instagram post captioned “How much ass can you handle?” (Editor’s note: Please let this case go to the Supreme Court.)

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But Huge Ass Beer bars’ operator Billie Karno this week filed a lawsuit alleging that other Bourbon Street bars have violated his Huge Ass Beer trademark by selling to-go cups advertising “Giant Ass Beer.” Those bars—Beerfest, Voodoo Vibe, and Sing Sing—plus a strip club called Stiletto’s, are operated by Pamela Olano and Guy Olano Jr. Karno seeks an end to marketing materials bearing the name Giant Ass Beers as well as damages.

The Ass Beer waters get even more muddied, as the Olanos and Karno are engaged in another lawsuit regarding unfair business practices, because Karno is the landlord for several of the businesses the Olanos operate. In the lawsuit, Karno alleges the Olanos introduced Giant Ass Beer just to spite him.

If the world cannot have the pleasure of reading Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion in Huge Ass Beer v. Giant Ass Beer, can we at least get a Law & Order episode on the topic?

(Final editor’s note: If you can correctly tell me how many times I used the phrase “ass beer” in this piece—without cheating with control-F—I will reward you with one whole star in the comments.)

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.