Landry’s Files Trademark Lawsuit Against Distillery Founded by Zach Landry

Posted on: October 24, 2023, 11:42h. 

Last updated on: October 24, 2023, 04:10h.

Landry’s, Inc., the hospitality and gaming conglomerate privately owned by billionaire Tilman Fertitta, has filed a lawsuit 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 founded by Zach Landry in 2020. The Texan is a third-generation owner of quarter horses. He says he founded the distillery to honor the passion he shared with his grandfather for enjoying fine and rare bourbons.

Landry Distillery produces Landry Oaks Rye and Landry Stakes Bourbon. The bottles are sold at several liquor stores in the Houston area.

Fertitta’s Landry’s empire includes numerous restaurant brands, including Morton’s, Chart House, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Landry’s Seafood House, McCormick and Schmick’s, and Joe’s Crab Shack. Landry’s is also the parent entity to Fertitta’s five Golden Nugget casinos located in Nevada, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Landry’s also owns Wildwood Casino Cripple Creek in Colorado.

Fertitta additionally controls the NBA Houston Rockets. Forbes puts the Houston billionaire’s net worth at more than $8 billion.

What’s In a Name?

Fertitta, who was in the first row behind home plate Monday night watching the Houston Astros lose game seven to the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series, is challenging the use of the Landry name in Landry Distillery.

The Landry surname is common in Texas and in much of the country, especially in the south. Louisiana voters earlier this month picked Republican Jeff Landry to be the state’s next governor.

The Houston Chronicle reports there are numerous businesses in Texas unrelated to Fertitta’s Landry’s that also use the Landry name. Those entities are invested in everything from petroleum to accounting services.

Fertitta’s Landry’s is an homage to Bill and Floyd Landry, who were the original owners of the first Landry’s Seafood on Houston’s Westside. Fertitta bought out the Landrys in the mid-1980s and retained the name for what would become his hospitality empire.

Landry’s filed its intellectual property litigation against Landry Distillery in March. The civil case was initially filed in Harris County court but has since been relocated to federal court by way of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Landry Distillery filed a motion to dismiss the case in August. Presiding Judge Robert Pitman has not yet ruled on the request.

Landry Distillery has also filed a countersuit against Landry’s seeking declaratory judgment action “to clarify and settle its legal right to use, and to continue in the future using, its Distillery Marks.”

Strip Plans Progress

Fertitta is already invested in Las Vegas by way of his downtown Golden Nugget, but the billionaire wants a larger piece of the world’s richest gaming market.

Fertitta, who also owns a 6.1% stake in Wynn Resorts, last year paid $270 million to acquire 6.2 acres of prime real estate on the Las Vegas Strip. The strip mall and Travelodge motel have since been demolished to make way for a possible integrated casino resort.

Specifics of what Fertitta and Landry’s might build on the site remain unknown. Economic conditions, specifically high borrowing rates and elevated construction costs, could result in a slow progression of the project.