Friday, January 09, 2015

"Craft Brewers Are Running Out Of Names," clever or otherwise.

Evidently Leg Spreader was NOT already taken

A few years back, when NABC decided to brew a Helles-style lager full time, we did what we imagined was due diligence and searched the Internet to see if Bat Out of Helles already was taken. We didn't see anything, so stuck with it.

Last year, we received a very nice e-mail from a brewery elsewhere, informing us that it produces a beer by the same name -- well, almost the same name: Bat Outta Helles. While hitherto this had not been worth nothing, canning was about to begin ... and so could we chat about terms of shared usage, i.e., our continued in-house, draft-only use of the name outside of the other brewery's distribution area, etc?

Frankly, Bat Out of Helles wasn't my favored name, anyway, so I wrote back and said we had no problem whatever changing to mere Helles, a style descriptor beyond restrictive copyright, much like ... steam beer?

Never mind.

Craft Brewers Are Running Out Of Names, And Into Legal Spats, by Alastair Bland (NPR)

Columbia? Taken. Mississippi? Taken. Sacramento? El NiƱo? Marlin? Grizzly? Sorry, they're all taken.

Virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America — as well as myriad other words, concepts and images — has been snapped up and trademarked as the name of either a brewery or a beer. For newcomers to the increasingly crowded industry of more than 3,000 breweries, finding names for beers, or even themselves, is increasingly hard to do without risking a legal fight.

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