Beer is booming and that is a good thing. But apparently, not so much for those trying to enter into the market and develop some catchy exciting names. Apparently, breweries and beers are running out of names of all things.
3,000 breweries in the US and they’ve all taken the top notch names. Where do they go now? Do we just start enumerating them? Brewery #1, Brewery #2, Brewery #3. Wouldn’t that eliminate all issues? “I LOVE brewery #4578!!!!” Their #0098 is delicious!”
This reminds me of when I was a child and municipalities were running out of phone numbers. For some reason that bit of childhood stuck with me. Don’t ask me why. From the article:
Virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America — as well as myriad other words, concepts and images — has been snapped up and trademarked as the name of either a brewery or a beer. For newcomers to the increasingly crowded industry of more than 3,000 breweries, finding names for beers, or even themselves, is increasingly hard to do without risking a legal fight.
The naming issue has also led to some pretty inventive resolutions, such as what happened between the two venerable breweries of Avery and Russian River:
For example, when the brewers at Avery in Colorado and Russian River in California discovered that they each had a beer named Salvation, they met at an annual Colorado beer festival to talk it out. Vinnie Cilurzo, co-owner and brewmaster of Russian River Brewing Co., says that neither he nor Adam Avery knew who had coined the name. Nor were they particularly worried about it. Still, they took the opportunity to come to a clever compromise. They combined their beers in a blend and named it Collaboration Not Litigation.
But the issue isn’t just impacting the beer industry. The microbrewery industry is getting so big it’s bumping into naming issues with the likes of Yellow Tail Wines, one of the world’s largest wineries:
American trademark law lumps breweries together with wineries and distilleries, making the naming game even chancier. A widely circulating rumor has it that Yellow Tail Wines, of Australia, came after Ballast Point Brewing Co., in San Diego, for naming a beer “Yellowtail.” Ballast Point’s pale ale is now conspicuously lacking a fish-themed name (a signature, if not a trademark, of the brewery), though an image of a brightly colored yellowtail still resides plainly — and legally, it seems — on the label. A spokesperson for Ballast Point said the company could not discuss the matter.