Fire Cider Controversy - Tradition not Trademark

Fire Cider


We're sure you Herb Lovers out there have heard about the Fire Cider Trademark Controversy.  If not, essentially it is this: Fire cider is a traditional preparation of various spicy and pungent herbs macerated in vinegar and honey. There have been as many variations in the recipe as individuals making it but the basic elements have been passed down for countless generations and the name "Fire Cider" itself was coined and copyrighted by Rosemary Gladstar in her books.  Shire City Herbals has trademarked this term, essentially claiming it for their own and denying others the right to use the term for their own remedies.

Below is the latest news in a letter from Rosemary herself complete with links and ways to get involved.

Dear Fire Cider Friends,

Many of you have been writing asking 'what’s up with Fire Cider? What should we do next?'  If all seems ‘quiet on the front lines’ it’s only because we’ve been very busy. We are not giving up!  Please review our most recent posting on The Tradition Not Trademark Facebook page and note the several ‘action tasks’ that are outlined there, including a "Toast To Tradition" this Sunday. (   There are several updates, printable materials, and sample boycott letters that you can send to your local stores/co-ops. We are in the process of contacting lawyers and seeking legal recourse, and will be doing a mass mailing to inform those folks who aren’t on internet (yep, there’s still a few of us out there!).   


We’ve heard from so many of you how important this issue is. It’s not just about Fire Cider, but preserving our herbal traditions and setting a different precedent than the one set by Shire City Herbals (SCH), the company who felt they had the right to trademark a product/name that has been freely shared in the herbal community for several decades before they laid claim to it.   They have made all kinds of accusations about the herbal community and remain convinced that one of the founders of Shire City Herbals created the recipe and formula.  However, while there are three people who claim that its ‘their formula’, there are almost 7,500 people who state otherwise; That Fire Cider was a popular product in the herbal community(s) and has been made and sold by many small herbal business’s long before SCH came into existence.  Several farmers, also, are upset that anyone would think to trademark so generic a term, given that cider makers make a product called ‘ice cider’ and ‘fire cider’.


Some people have questioned the benefits of a boycott and/or petition, asking why we would want to ‘hurt a small herbal business’.  Unfortunately, without public pressure of some kind, most businesses operate primarily from their ‘bottom line’. Petitions, boycotts and letter writing are some of the best tools used to document public support. We will gladly show our support of SCH when/if they show support of our herbal traditions by returning a traditional product.   The issue here is ‘not to hurt their business’ but to show support for an issue that is hugely important to a great number of us.  If there is a better and more effective way, please let us know.


Thank you for your ongoing support.  Please stay involved (see the web postings below). It is only through support and active involvement that we will succeed in freeing Fire Cider, an ‘Herbal Tradition, Not a Trademark’.   


With you in herbal ways, Rosemary


Ø     Read the Recent Letter to the Petition Signers

Ø     Sign the petition today!

Ø     Celebrate "Fire Cider" with a virtual Toast to Tradition on Sunday!

Ø     Support the boycott:

Ø      Volunteer your time:  Please like and share!


NEW WEBSITE: website has lots of great information about the movement. You can download letters, signs, recipes. Upload information, pictures and more! Check it out!


Toast to Tradition

On Sunday, March 9th let’s all celebrate Fire Cider. Make a toast to tradition!

Share and post your photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Don’t forget to tag Tradition Not Trademark on Facebook or use #freefirecider elsewhere!


Promotional Materials promotional materials from the website!

General info flyers


Make your own Fire Cider poster




Before you write or call a store, check the website for the most up to date list of stores who have supported the boycott Fire Cider!

Make sure you upload the information about stores that have decided to make a conscious choice to support our mission in protecting our tradition from SCH Fire Cider, so that they are not still getting letters, and our energy doesn't get wasted!

Check the website for 3 different SAMPLE boycott letters! Remember, these are samples! If you don't like any of them, use your own words!

Show your support for this issue. Keep the pressure on! Have a letter writing get-together!



It is so empowering to see us all come together to protect our traditions. We have almost 7,500 signatures!

Help us by circulating the petition to reach 10,000 signatures!


Flood the Market

We’d love to see coops and health food stores across the country carrying a large selection of LOCAL Fire Ciders! Live in Alabama? Why should your Coop carry a Fire Cider from Massachusetts? And if you live in Massachusetts, your Coop could carry Fire Cider made right in the very same town!

More info on how to do this!


Volunteer Information

We are hoping to solidify our volunteer coordinator this week!

Submit a volunteer form if you would like to lend a hand!