brew

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

Amendments to SB 1714 (update)

I mentioned on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KomlossyLaw) this past weekend that the deadline for amendments, including proposed committee substitutes and delete everything amendments, to SB 1714 (the bad beer bill in the Senate), was today (Monday, April 7, 2014) at 3:00.  The deadline has come and gone and the proposed amendments are as follows:

While the original bill would only include bottles of 32, 64 and 128 ounces to be sold as growlers, the amendment from Senator Stargel would include all sizes between (and including) 32 ounces and one gallon within the definition of a “growler”.

Senator Latvala filed seven amendments, including one that would delete the specified growler sizes altogether and allow for any size growler and also specifically included plastic as an appropriate container type for a growler.

Latvala’s other amendments would do the following:

  • Removes the language requiring a brewery to sell its […]
By |April 7th, 2014|Blog|3 Comments

Trademark Series: Beer and Wine

In the most recent issue of American Brewer Magazine, I mentioned that the fact that a mark is used and registered for wine or distilled spirits does not necessarily bang a death knell for a craft brewer’s ability to use a similar or identical mark.  I’ve recently discussed geographically descriptive trademarks and refusals of beer marks based on a likelihood of confusion with clothing items.  This will discuss why a similar, or even identical, mark registered for wine or distilled spirits should not (and does not) mean a mark for beer and/or brewery services cannot register and acquire nationwide trademark rights.

The Refusal:

The USPTO will generally issue a refusal that compares the marks (how they look, sound, etc.) and then compares the similarity of the goods. The goods comparison generally goes as follows:

 BeerAndWineRefusalSample

The X-Search database evidence that […]

By |January 22nd, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

The Geographically Descriptive Trademark

I was recently in Boston and had some great beer. Something I saw on that trip and then a discussion I had with David Minsky of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times inspired this article. David and I spoke about the recent trend of cease-and-desist letters in the brewing industry and whether it may soon affect South Florida’s breweries that are seeking to trademark names like Miami Pale Ale and Miami Brewing Company. As I drove through a few towns north of Boston, I passed Boston Beer Works and thought people might assume that Boston Beer Company, the company behind Sam Adams and Angry Orchard, was also behind Boston Beer Works. Boston Beer didn’t want people thinking that was the case. It sued Boston Beer Works twenty years ago for trademark infringement. I’ll get to that. First, some background on the relevant law.

Trademarks may fall within four categories with respect […]

By |January 3rd, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Proposed Crowdfunding Rules – Small Business and Craft Brewers

AventinusGlass

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act) was put in place with the purpose of doing what the name suggests. One portion of the Act would allow companies to raise money via crowdfunding without registering the offering with the SEC. Small, often interesting/innovative, businesses, such as craft breweries, have been using crowdfunding platforms to raise money by offering “investors” goods and swag in return for the “investment”. “Investment” is used in quotations because it has really been more of a donation. Those who contributed to these endeavors gained no equity ownership in the company seeking to raise funds. On Wednesday, the SEC issued more than 500 pages of  proposed rules, discussion and analysis that would permit companies to offer and sell securities by way of crowdfunding. The public now has 90 days to comment on the proposed rules. After reviewing the […]

By |October 25th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Could Craft Brewers Take a Page from the NBA Lockout?

craft-beer-week-new-york-city-photo-ccDuring the recent NBA lockout, a number of the league’s stars found ways to stay at work by participating in charity games across the country and other summer league events.  Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony played in Oklahoma City and raised $100,000 for the Single Parents Support Network of Oklahoma City.  Durant, James, Anthony, Paul, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, John Wall and Amar’e Stoudemire got together in Miami to support Mary’s Court Foundation.  More stars met in Philadelphia, Minneapolis and San Jose, among other locations.

The situations are certainly different, craft brewers are not directly at odds with the federal government and the shutdown did not occur as a means of burdening the brewers.  But the result is similar.  Many craft brewers are left with innovative brews that cannot reach the consumers due to the cessation […]

By |October 16th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Label Approval – For the States, Federal Government or Both?

Earlier this year, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) clarified that neither a certificate of label approval (COLA) or a certificate of exemption is required for malt beverages that will not be shipped or delivered for sale or shipment into another state.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you plan to distribute your product only within your home state that you are automatically exempt.  Many states still rely on, and default to, the federal regulations and require TTB label approval.  Nor does it mean that it’s not best to seek label approval if you are in a state that does not require it.  This can however, play a role in the timing of when you may seek label approval.  For example, if you want to get a product on tap in your state quickly without waiting for label approval but you also want to check your […]

By |September 24th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments