I spoke with Empire's spokesman Elie Rosenfeld early this afternoon.
He told me beef production was shut down by a court order due to a trademark dispute with a non-glatt deli company, Empire National Meats, based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Apparently previous owners of Empire poultry signed an agreement with Empire National that precluded Empire poultry from using the Empire name for beef production and the other company from using the Empire name for poultry.
Empire produced beef under the legal name EKB Kosher Beef, LLC. EKB is a sister company of Empire Kosher. EKB did not use the name Empire on the beef it produced. Even so, it was shut down by court order when Empire National sought relief in court.
No word yet on EKB Beef's response.
No one answered the phone at Empire National's offices this afternoon.
UPDATE 3:30 PM – The plot thickens. First, the EKB logo. Note the resemblance to Empire's poultry logo, posted below:
1994 Agreement Between Empire National and Empire:
The First Amended Complaint: