Mastering the brewing craft is fun, but navigating the murky business waters is essential for all successful craft breweries — large or small. We’ve stressed the importance researching and getting your products trademarked. Your great idea could be similar to someone else’s and the only difference is who holds the trademark. Great Lakes Brewing Co. just announced they will be re-branding their Alchemy Hour Double IPA due to Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (CBA) already having secured the rights to the trademark for the word “Alchemy.”
As Great Lakes noted in their update on the current status of their new product,
The craft scene is on fire these days, which means many more breweries are entering the segment and clamoring for unique and interesting names for their products (interesting note: there are over 14,000 beer product names currently registered or in the process of registration at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office!). As the craft scene changes, protecting one’s brands through trademark registration is a greater necessity, much more so than even a few years ago.
Despite the well-reasoned brand inspiration and its recent success, Great Lakes Brewing Co. decided to respect the trademark ownership rights. Luckily, the brewery was able to work out a deal with the CBA and Widmer Brothers to finish out 2013 under the “Alchemy Hour Double IPA” name. Additionally, the name is the only thing changing for the new double IPA in 2014. From the label to the recipe, the new Great Lakes brew will return unchanged, except for two words — “Alchemy Hour.”
Legal disputes are never fun, but it speaks to the craft brewing camaraderie that the breweries can come together on an agreement that acknowledges the difficulty involved in re-branding a successful product. Great Lakes Brewing said it best, “It’s the liquid in the bottle that matters most.” For all the details of the brew’s rebranding, be sure to read the full news story.