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More Breweries Do Not Result in More Drunk Driving Fatalities

If anything, statistics demonstrate an inverse relationship between craft breweries and drunk driving fatalities. Vermont, for example, ranks #1 in the country in capita/craft brewery but ranks 21st in capita/DUI fatality. Oregon ranks #2 in capita/craft brewery but ranks #42 in capita/DUI fatality. Of the top 15 states in capita/craft brewery, only 3 are also ranked in the top 15 in capita/DUI fatality.

These stats cannot tell the whole story, but it does provide some context and a trend. Certain downfalls include the fact that this uses the number of craft breweries rather than the production of beer and that there will be people who are driving under the influence who do not kill (or injure) people. The claim that a change in distribution laws would lead to over-consumption and thus increased DUI deaths and other health issues, like the claim made during the past Florida legislative session, simply cannot withstand […]

By |August 28th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Should Florida Breweries Be Selling to Fellow Breweries?

Breweries are no longer sparsely scattered throughout the state. We are seeing concentrations of breweries flourishing in the Tampa/Saint Petersburg area, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, neighborhoods in Miami and soon Tallahassee. As the number of breweries in Florida grows and areas become more concentrated with breweries, those breweries may consider selling their beer directly to one another, rather than using a distributor for such sales.

Florida Statute §561.42(1) focuses on the tied house evil and prevents integration between the tiers. Florida Statute §561.22 performs a similar function as it prohibits the licensing of a manufacturer or distributor as a vendor and vice versa. Meanwhile, Florida Statute §561.14, in its description of license and registration classifications, notes that manufacturers are “licensed to manufacture alcoholic beverages and distribute the same at wholesale to licensed distributors and to no one else within the state, unless authorized by statute.”

The statute that authorizes manufacturers to distribute to […]

By |August 26th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Check out Ross’ Latest Publication on the Craft Beer Industry and Trademark Law – Worry Wort: A Path to Acquiring Trademark Rights in the Craft Brewing Industry

Check out Ross’ latest article, titled: Worry Wort: A Path to Acquiring Trademark Rights in the Craft Brewing Industry. It appears in Volume XXIV, Book 4 of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal.

http://iplj.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/C04_Appel_R1.pdf

The article discusses the manner in which trademark law functions, focusing upon the statutory definition of “use in commerce” and related case law developments. It examines the legal framework as it applies in the craft beer context and analyzes an illustrative legal dispute and considers the effect in time, money and frustration that trademark disputes can have on small craft brewery owners.  It also analyzes the early life-cycle of two upstart brewers to demonstrate that rights in a mark must accrue, in certain circumstances, prior to any sales activity.  It further examines the manner in which rights in a mark are acquired in the pharmaceutical industry, where the time from development to marketing launch […]

By |July 15th, 2014|Blog, News|0 Comments

Craft Beer: Franchise Laws Need Not Apply

Franchise laws, as applied to the  craft beer industry, have the negative potential of restricting the possibilities for growth (small brewers may avoid expanding into a test market because they will first have to tie themselves to a distributor forever) and allowing distributors to hold breweries to a relationship that is neither healthy nor profitable for either party.

Franchise laws were viewed as a necessity a few decades after Prohibition, when few breweries remained operational. Those that remained were generally doing the uninteresting: mass-producing uniformly flavored beer. However, the efficiency of these breweries came at the expense of flavor and creativity and would put many smaller breweries out of business. This led to a great deal of consolidation in the beer industry and ultimately led to the existence of several large breweries with power to influence the policies of the next tier of the distribution system, the distributors themselves. It was […]

By |June 12th, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

Ross Worked With BeverageTradeNetwork on a Recent Article about Craft Beer Label Design and Requirements

Please click on the following link on BeverageTradeNetwork to read the recent article in which Ross was consulted regarding craft beer label design. The article discusses the process and requirements for label approval, prohibited content on malt beverage labels and why you might consider plans for brewery expansion when designing a label. Let us know if you have any questions or comments!

http://beveragetradenetwork.com/en/article-base/craft-beer-label-design-how-to-adhere-to-state-and-federal-law-and-get-your-labels-approved–351.htm

By |June 9th, 2014|Blog, News|0 Comments

It’s Kind of Their Thing

Anheuser Busch is doing that thing Anheuser Busch does. This time in South Carolina. It’s what they recently did in Florida. Here, they had some politicians that were either willing to do their bidding or were willing to accept vague and unsupported assertions as fact without asking any logical follow-up questions. In South Carolina, they’ve got their lawyer-lobbyists doing the same.

ABInBev’s attorneys wrote a short letter to South Carolina Senators asking that they “please non-concur”  with house amendments to the bill that was drafted to help open up the craft beer industry in South Carolina and perhaps provide incentive to Stone Brewing to bring jobs and money to South Carolina. Read that letter here: (as posted by Wesley Donehue and BeerOfSC) http://www.scribd.com/doc/224630184/Stone-Bill.

The attorneys begin by noting that “the manner in which the law would be changed would be detrimental to the current three tier system for alcohol distribution.” It is […]

By |May 19th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

A Letter to the Senator

I emailed Senator Stargel today after reading her opinion piece that appeared in a number of Florida publications:

Senator Stargel,

I read your opinion piece on SB 1714 this morning and wanted to reach out in response. I certainly appreciate your opinion and the fact that you took the time to attempt to clarify certain information making its way around the media and internet right now. I also appreciate that you have worked hard on this bill and have made efforts to find a compromise. I don’t believe any compromise was ever necessary because I don’t believe there ever should have been any such legislation that would add more regulations to Florida’s beer industry. I would like to go through your piece and reply to your arguments.

 

STARGEL: It’s clear the three-tier system, purposefully instituted after Prohibition, must be preserved to prevent: predatory practices that would eliminate competition, opaque or illicit distribution channels, […]

By |April 29th, 2014|Blog|2 Comments

SB 1714 Update – A Total Farce

UPDATE: I mentioned in the last update that this process should have been much easier given that Florida’s brewers are looking for simple, common sense, measures to be taken. Those would be legalization of the 64 ounce growler and malt beverage tastings conducted by brewers.  Senator Gibson filed a delete all, discussed further below, that would return any debate back to the simplicity necessary and simply allow 64 ounce containers and beer tastings. Senator Thrasher did not want Gibson bringing what was essentially old business (bills stuck in Committee). Her amendment was withdrawn. Simplicity and common sense did not rule the day.

Senator Stargel filed an amendment on Sunday night that would keep unnecessary restrictions but simply ease those restrictions. It would:

  • Allow a brewery to have one vendors license on each brewery premises.
  • Allow sales for off premises consumption in sealed containers over 2,000 kegs so long as it does not top 20% […]
By |April 28th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Trademark Series: The Doctrine of Foreign Equivalents

From time to time, we run into proposed trademarks that are in another language. This generally starts a conversation about the doctrine of foreign equivalents. The doctrine of foreign equivalents requires that foreign words be translated into English to determine if there is a likelihood of consumer confusion with a mark already registered or to determine if the applied-for mark is descriptive or generic. When applicants apply for a mark in a different language, they are expected to provide the translation of the mark or else the examining attorney will seek the relevance of the applied-for mark.

There is often question about when the doctrine is applied.  It’s applied when the “ordinary American purchaser” would “stop and translate” the foreign wording in a mark. That isn’t terribly helpful on its own.  It has been clarified that the “ordinary American purchaser” isn’t the average American, but rather is […]

By |April 18th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Proposed Amendments to SB 1714 (updated)

Proposed Amendments

The Committee Substitute to SB 1714 in on the Rules Committee’s agenda for this Monday, April 21 at 1 p.m.  Updates on  proposed amendments to the bill will be provided here:

Senator Andy Gardiner (Brevard and Orange counties) filed a delete all on Thursday that seemed to seek a compromise on an already unnecessarily proposed restriction. It would do the following:

  • Allow breweries that brew no more than 2,000 kegs (15.5 gallons) per year to sell beer brewed on premises in bottles/cans without going through a distributor.
  • Allow a brewery that holds a quota license (if that quota license was owned on or before March 1, 2014)  to sell, for off-premises consumption, all malt beverages brewed off premises (sold in sealed containers, not growlers). The quota license would not be allowed to be moved. Beer sold under this provision that is […]
By |April 18th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments