June 23

Come Check Out the Illinois Craft Brewers Conference – June 26th and 27th

Come on out to the Illinois Craft Brewer’s Conference on June 26th and 27th for two great days of education and information on brewing and related issues.  I’ll be presenting with a great group of other experts on topics of interest.  http://illinoisbeer.org/conference

May 11

Dissent In Texas Three-Tier Case Contains Powerful Indictment Of Strict Enforcement Of Cross-Tier Ownership

As you all probably have heard, in Cadena Commercial v. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Texas Supreme Court recently weighed in on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s decision to deny a license for retail sales to a group of convenience stores that wanted to sell alcohol because through a chain of ownership, one of the […]

May 04

Oral Argument Audio Available in Craft Brewers’ Franchise Dispute Over Distribution Termination In Ohio

The Sixth Circuit held the oral argument yesterday in the dispute between Southern Glazer’s and two craft brewers (Great Lakes Brewing and Boston Beer Company) looking to terminate their distribution relationship.   You can listen to the argument here: We’ve written about this case a few times here and here noting that it is an […]

May 03

Nevada Case Questions How Egregious Distributor Behavior Has To Be To Amount To Good Cause For Termination of Franchise Rights

Franchise laws enslaving brewers to distributors often have vaguely worded “good cause” terms allowing a brewer to terminate a relationship when this beneficently named justification exists. A frequent criticism of these statutes is that when a distributor has acted in a fashion that would allow for termination under regular contract principles, these laws force brewers […]

April 28

Will Lee v. Tam End The TTB’s Censorship of Beer Wine and Spirits Labels Found Obscene or Indecent?

As the US awaits a verdict in Lee v. Tam – a trademark dispute challenging a section of the trademark act (15 U.S.C. 1052(a)) refusing trademark registration for marks that are deemed immoral or scandalous, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s implementation and application of those restrictions – it would benefit us to be […]

April 24

Millercoors Wins “Not From Australia” Lawsuit Over Claims That Foster’s Marketing Misleads Drinkers

In one of latest wins for brewers against deceptive labeling lawsuits brought against domestically made beers over branding that arguably conveys they are imported, Millercoors has scored a win for its Foster’s brand against a putative class action looking to cash in against the company.  The lawsuit (you can read the amended complaint here) alleged that […]

April 14

North Carolina Proposes Some Common-Sense Amendments to Modernize Its Brewing Laws That Advance Rights for Craft Brewers In the Face of Changing Times

Jim Koch (of Boston Beer fame) wrote an excellent polemic for the New York Times last week questioning some American attitudes towards beer.  A salient point from that article was that many state distribution laws developed over time from the end of prohibition and haven’t been updated since the 1970’s.  These distribution statutes were created […]

April 10

Arguing With the Trademark Office Over Wine? – La Finca Wine Trademark Decision Provides Interesting Lessons Regarding Acceptable Source Material

The TTAB (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board) recently affirmed the decision from the USPTO refusing to register the mark “La Finca” for wines on the basis that the vintner didn’t demonstrate that the brand had acquired distinctiveness since the translation of the term is “the estate” or “the farm” which is descriptive for wines.  You […]