Don’t Wait Too Long To Protect Your Brewery Brand

Before you even get to the USPTO – there are a number of things you can do to preserve your brand.

 

 

Many brewers think that their brand is an afterthought. Others believe it is the end-all-be-all to their success. Well, there is no doubt that a brewer’s brand is incredibly valuable. The logo, design, and copy on the packaging all require attention – early on.

 

So I am often asked by brewers to tell them when they need to go about protecting their name and logo. The answer: yesterday. The craft brewing industry has become swollen. There is a massive group of potential branding competitors and you do not want your brand to become confused with another. Therefore, you need to be proactive and take some steps to ensure that your brand stays yours, and yours only.

 

Even before you get to brewing commercially, you should focus in on a theme that represents what you make as a brewer. The theme will help you easily craft a name and logo that fit your motif. Once you hammer it down and work with an artist to put your vision on display – it’s time to be proactive and protect it.

 

Before you speak to an attorney, you could do the following:

 

  • Search TESS, the federal trademark registry. Look for other “beer” related brands that might be confusingly similar to your own name.
  • Search COLAS public, the federal label registry. Look for other labels and brands that are on the market with a similar name – heck even a specific beer with your brewery’s name would be potentially a threat.
  • Check for available Domain Names. Go to your favorite online domain provider (GoDaddy, 1&1, etc) and search for your name and similar variations (i.e., if you pick Little Bear – look for Small Bear, Tiny Bear, etc)
  • Check for social media availability. Go to Facebook and Twitter and make sure someone else is not using your handle for a branding purpose.

 

Once you have satisfied yourself that you have a brand — call your counsel and file your trademark. Under federal trademark laws, you have the ability to file on the basis of “intent to use,” meaning that you are not required to prove to the US Patent & Trademark Office that you are currently using the mark in interstate commerce. Instead, you get some time to get the brewhouse in place, fire up the kettles and begin making beer.

 

A federal trademark registration is the best way to inform the general public that you intend to use this brand. You can file a mark for either your name alone, your logo alone, or a combination of the two – so there is little reason to delay.

 

Be proactive and protect your brand early on. It’s simple, efficient and effective. Then, get back to brewing.

 

 

 

 

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Help Build Asheville’s New Treasure – The New Belgium Brewery

Asheville’s newest gem is getting ready for construction

Well, most of you may know that I began my legal career in construction. A central focus of my legal services includes green building, a topic that I have covered several times in conjunction with brewery law.

 

The City of Asheville, North Carolina has a lot to celebrate in the world of beer. New Belgium Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing and Oskar Blues each plan on building brewing facilities and brewpubs in the area over the next few years. Oskar Blues will be up and running by December – the other two to follow by 2015.

 

New Belgium’s project is one for the ages. It will completely revitalize a massive brownfield in the city’s River Arts District, convert unused riverfront into accessible green space, and force the construction of bikeways throughout the area. In addition, New Belgium’s project is sustainable, gorgeous and will support growth. Read more about it on their website, or check on this quick summary.

 

Despite its opening being years away, construction starts soon. The design team is hosting a meeting for all interested subcontractors and suppliers on Thursday October 30, 2012. If you are interested in helping build this modern majesty of brewing integrity – please be there and submit your pre-qualification documentation. Here is an article with the details.

 

 

 

 

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The Brewery Licensing Package: A Flat Fee Service That Tastes Great

Yes! Get your licensing work done, at an affordable rate.

 

Everyone has to do it, but not everyone has to go through it. The federal and state permit and licensing processes can be incredibly tricky for most breweries, oftentimes because you are busy preparing your facility, launching marketing and making good beer. I certainly understand that you cannot do everything.

 

Over the past few years, Reiser Legal PLLC has developed an exhaustive list of alcoholic beverage law services. Through experience and expertise my law practice has been able to develop a cost-affordable flat fee licensing package that everyone can stomach.

 

Reiser Legal now offers a federal and state licensing package for an affordable rate that brewers of all sizes can afford. The package includes assistance with the TTB Brewers Notice and Washington or Louisiana State Microbrewery License applications processes. All you have to do is provide some vital information, documentation, and a steady line of communication.

 

If you have more questions about this fee package, or other services available from Reiser Legal, please contact the office using the contact form or e-mail info@reiserlegal.com.

 

Brewers don’t have to labor through the trials and tribulations of the TTB and state authorities. Let us do it for you. Relax and make great beer.

 

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Getting A Jump Start For Your Brewery Business Plan

Every brewer needs a plan. Don’t delay your business plan

 

Every brewery needs a business plan. This is a fact. Even those of you who don’t have to worry about fundraising (the very few) should have a business plan that sets projections, rules and goals. This is vital to the success of a brewery.

 

A business plan is not the “pitch plan” that many think that is. A business plan is an instruction manual for your brewery, establishing the rules and regulations with which you will operate, the financial goals that you seek to attain and the market factors that mean everything to your success. So, be sure to begin the conversation about your business plan sooner, rather than later.

 

Because I too have drafted a brewery business plan – both for clients and my own project – I know that the tast can be daunting. A proper business plan covers industry material, financials, materials supply, business operation and ownership. A lot of these things can be tough to define, and sometimes it is most difficult to figure out where to start.

 

My personal preference is to build an outline of the vital portions of the business plan. Once you have it organized, start writing. If you are hard up for materials pricing, industry numbers and other data, please don’t forget about the Brewers Association. The Association’s website has oodles of information that can be extremely helpful to you as you build your plan. For $195.00, a brewery in planning can join and get all of the same benefits that are available to existing breweries. So, please, don’t delay in joining.

 

I know that still many of you might fear getting started. There are a number of pre-written outlines available on the WWW that might be of interest to you. I have not had the opportunity to scan them all for content, but there are many out there.

 

One in particular that I think can provide a good starting point is the Business Plan for a Microbrewery published by MBA, Nat Chiaffarano. You can download the business plan documents (a fill in form) for as little as $30 and as much as $70, depending on the girth.

 

While you can always rely on a pre-written plan to get a head start, you should remember that you can benefit immensely from penning your own custom plan. But whatever you do – make sure you have a plan.

 

 

 

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