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    Beer vs Outside IP

    Music, movies, TV, sports, art. These are all things that have influence over our everyday lives. You may have a phrase that has become a part of your common vocabulary that was a line you picked up from a movie. Your love three piece suits may have come from some swank character in a TV show. Your guitar playing style was forged from the off time, chaos from a tech metal band that blew your mind. It’s safe to say that we all do something that was influenced by media at some point.

    Beer is no different and I don’t just mean the liquid, in the keg, can, bottle or glass. Names of the beers along with artwork for labels, posters, glassware and other merchandise offer multiple canvases for breweries to paint their tribute to the influencing medium. And with a number of breweries that continues to grow and market that is still tip toeing along the edge of saturation coming up with names that are catchy can become a full-time job in and of itself. When you couple this tight rope walking job of determining names and branding along with outside influences you may very well find yourself heading down a path that is maybe even more slippery than the floors in your brewery.

    You would think in this industry where it seems like common practice now to hear about breweries going after other breweries over names, branding and the like that intellectual property would be a 101 course for coming into the field. Simple Google searches for beers with similar names is the easiest step but putting forth just a tad more effort like searching BeerAdvocate, Untappd and even the US Patent and Trademark Office can be classified as due diligence for most breweries. Infringing on another brewery’s trademark is not fun and not only can it result in having to go back to the drawing board on a name but lost revenue from having to pull product and merch that may bear the infringing name. So check all those things and your good right? Well not so much. Continue reading…

    Understanding Florida’s Brewing Licenses

    I know it might be hard for many to believe but Florida can be a strange and — often times — wacky state to follow in logic. One of these particular instances is understanding the two different types of licenses that the state offers to those wishing to brew beer commercially. “Why two?” you might ask, well these two different licenses come with different restrictions on the license holder about a number of things, including but not limited to, the amount of beer the brewer can make per year along with the way the beer is served from their premise.

    The two different license types are CMB and CMBP. Think of the CMB as a commercial/production brewery while the CMBP as a brewpub. I’ll get more into the specifics of those in just a moment.

    Why am I am I writing about these besides having some spare time on my hands? Having seen some CMBP holders having bottle releases in the past number of months got me thinking, “Do they even know that they can’t do that or are they willfully disobeying the restrictions?” Wanting to see the best in people I am hoping for the earlier of those two options and start doing some research.

    Unless you’re a lawyer, reading and understanding the restrictions of certain license types can be maddening. Legal jargon is boring and worded in such a specific way that it sometimes leaves holes in your comprehension of the statement that only leads to more questions. Luckily my experience coupled with getting some help from the wonderful Executive Director of the Florida Brewers Guild, Sean Nordquist, allowed me to put together some — hopefully — easy to understand outlines of the two different licenses and what restrictions they have.

    Are you good and confused? Great, let’s get to this. Continue reading…

    Where Have I Come and Where Am I Going?

    I remember my first craft beer like it was yesterday, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout at Isaac Newton’s in Newtown, PA. It’s silky mouthfeel coupled with a decadent, roasty sweetness was unlike anything I’d had before. I mean Guinness was good but had nothing on this. It motivated me to find great tasting beer outside of the multi-million dollar ad campaigns during football games.

    At the time this whole term — craft beer — was new on me, I didn’t really know what it meant. Fast forward to 2017 and we still as whole don’t seem to agree on what craft, or independent, beer is. Over time I learned about what was considered craft beer by the Brewer’s Association’s continually evolving definition and all I think it has done is make things a good bit cloudier, and not in the New England IPA sort of way. How much beer do you make per year? Are you more than 24.5% owned by one of the big boys? What ingredients are you using? Before a couple years ago you weren’t craft if you used corn in your beer but cartoon clad boxes of sugar coated breakfast cereal is craft to a tee? Continue reading…