North Coast Brewing Company’s Brother Thelonious Belgian-style abbey ale has returned to the market after having halted production last summer. The reason for the interruption was a lawsuit filed by Thelonious Monk’s son, T.S., who accused the beer company of unfairly profiting from his father’s image.
North Coast had been donating profits from sales of the beer to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, but T.S. took issue with the company selling merchandise featuring his father’s likeness.
The lawsuit has been settled, and North Coast has now agreed to donate a portion of the sale of every bottle and keg of the ale to the jazz education programs of the Monterey Jazz Festival. (The beer maker has been the festival’s “official brewery partner” since 2006.) In January, the Monk Institute was renamed the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, “following a request by representatives of the Monk Estate regarding the continued use of Thelonious Monk’s name,” according to a press release announcing the name change.
Apparently, the Monk Estate is now less bothered by a beer company putting Monk’s name and likeness on its labels (which have been newly redesigned).
“Obviously they’re happy with it and we’re happy with it,” Doug Moody, senior vice president at North Coast, told Eater. “We’re very much glad it’s over, glad Brother Thelonious is back, and happy to continue to make really good beer and support jazz education.”