In a battle that begs comparison to David and Goliath, a small group of beer lovers will this week take on DB Breweries over who owns the rights to "radler" beer.

The Society of Beer Advocates is a 500-member community run by Blenheim-based beer lover Geoff Griggs.

The two sides will meet on Wednesday in a hearing before the Intellectual Property Office to dispute the meaning of one six-letter word, "radler", and whether it can be trademarked.

DB Breweries has been making Monteiths Radler since 2001 and owns the rights to the word.

But Griggs argues the term is a generic name for a beer diluted with lemonade - a style that dates back hundreds of years.

"DB is not producing an authentic radler. The whole point is that it has a lesser alcohol content," he said.

DB Breweries argues the word only became part of New Zealand lingo because of the Monteiths product.

The hearing has been set down for three days.