MOSCOW — The University of Idaho sent a letter this week to Vandal Beer owner R. Austin Nielsen asking him to stop using the Vandal Beer name, citing trademark infringement, according to Jodi Walker, UI director of communications.
A story on the new brew brand ran in both the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and Lewiston Tribune a few days ago.
Nielsen said last week he plans on releasing his first Vandal Beer, gold pale ale, in August in the Moscow area, as well as Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene. He said it will be produced in the Coeur d’Alene area starting in July.
Walker said Nielsen pitched the Vandal Beer idea to the university a while back, but university officials told him he was not allowed to use the Vandal name.
Nielsen, who said Tuesday he did not wish to comment on the situation until after meeting with attorneys, said last week the idea started as a project while he was a student in the Idaho Entrepreneurs program at UI.
He and another student tried to come up with a UI brand beer, but Nielsen said the university ultimately decided not to move forward with it.
So he said he changed the scope of the project and turned it into what it is today.
His website, which is still active at www.vandal.beer, states Vandal Beer is not affiliated with the university.
Nielsen said he will donate 10 percent of all Vandal Beer sales to UI scholarships and a fund he plans to start aimed at helping nonprofits, businesses and individuals who fall in line with Vandal Beer’s mission of making a positive impact in local communities.
Nielsen, 27, moved back to the Coeur d’Alene area at the end of last year after spending three years in Moscow while attending UI.