Category Archives: Craft Beer

July 24

Descriptive Phrases Are For Everyone’s Use – Vanilla Java Porter Denied Trademark Registration

Some bad news for Atwater in its quest to trademark “Vanilla Java Porter” is good news for those hoping ingredients and styles and variants don’t end up receiving registration forcing breweries to have to challenge registrations to get them undone in order to use common terms in their labeling.  You’re correct if you think this […]

July 10

6th Circuit Slams Distributor’s Attempt to Transfer Craft Beer Brands Without Brewer’s Consent

It’s a fairly typical clause in most distribution agreements, if not specifically stated in most state beer franchise laws – a promise that your distributor won’t transfer the franchise or the business (you want both and you’ll see why in a second) absent the brewer’s consent (which will not be “unreasonably” withheld).   The 6th Circuit […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

March 30

Online Wine Retailer Wins Case Against False Claims Assertions Over Failure to Collect Local Taxes For Sales

In a recent win for online wine retailers (not wineries selling direct), the Illinois appellate court has upheld the dismissal of an action against online wine retailer Winetasting.com alleging it violated Illinois’ False Claims Act (740 ILCS 175) in failing to collect and pay the local retailer’s occupation tax for the municipality where the wine […]