Not all craft brewing trademark and copyright issues make big headlines. Many of them get handled after a few letters and phone calls, as was the case recently for soon to open Former Future Brewing Co. in Colorado.
Former Future detailed the situation in an interesting blog post, telling the behind the scenes story and also relaying its mindset at this moment:
And it was bound to happen…
A letter. Received unexpectedly from another brewery, asking that we change our branding.
It was kind, thoughtful and firm. It was written by a lawyer. Crap.
The letter came from Societe Brewing in San Diego, Calif. The West Coast brewer pointed out that it already had beers named the Harlot and the Roustabout, which were beers Former Future was about to start producing. The blog post notes that this type of issue was likely to pop up considering both brands have that retro bent.
Upon reviewing Societe’s letter, we gave them a call. They were gracious and understanding. But really, it boiled down to this:
They’ve been in business for several years now, and have won several awards for those beers with which we share names. For Former Future, it was a no-brainer. We had to not only cease the use of the Harlot and the Rousabout… we had to change our entire branding scheme.
That’s a tough moment for any brewery, let alone one trying to just now carve out its own niche, but as Former Future says, this is a better realization and conversation at this stage of the game rather than years down the road.
We’d rather think really long and hard about our branding and make it something truly unique to carry forward throughout the life of Former Future.And, we can’t account for every brewery or homebrew supply shop or whatever… but we can try. Which leads us to now: We are going to be working over the next few weeks to develop a brand that is intriguing, thoughtful, thought-provoking, clever, and fun. Beyond that, we’ll be working with an illustrator to create a new avatar, rooted strictly in the values and identity that we want to portray. Which will then lead us into the future…
In the next few weeks – TTB permitting – we’ll be opening our doors to you. At that time we will reveal our new branding. For now, know that it. is. coming. SOON.
When it comes to craft brewing trademark stories, that’s a fairly happy ending. Just a reminder to Craft Brewing Business readers to take a look at this trademark/copyright law primer we put together based on a panel at the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference.