Locate your headphones, folks. The Carolina Craft Legal crew had the pleasure of joining Greg Pulscher this week on his podcast, Free to Brew. You can listen to the episode on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher, as well as by simply tapping the play button above.
You may recall that Michael joined Greg back in February for a discussion of North Carolina's cap on the self-distribution of beer. This episode is a deeper dive into that limitation and a conversation about a portion of legislation that might lend itself to some creative, inter-tier collaboration between industry members. We blogged about this a couple of weeks back. Tap here for a quick refresher.
In the back half of the podcast, we dive into the world of trademarks as applied to the beer industry. This topic has gained a lot of traction nationally, as the numbers of breweries continues to climb and the pressure on building and maintaining distinguishable brands peaks. We also exchange some hop puns and give some insight into how Carolina Craft Legal as a practice got its start.
As an update to that trademark discussion, another brewery-related skirmish popped up between Denver Colorado's Great Divide Brewing and Red Yeti Brewpub out of Jeffersonville, Indiana, since our recording. Most of you are likely familiar with one of Great Divide's flagship beers, the Yeti Imperial Stout. Great Divide filed its lawsuit against Red Yeti for an alleged infringement related to Great Divide's iconic yeti silhouette. Great Divide claimed in their complaint that they have "continually used the Yeti Design Mark since at least 2008 to identify its beers, and to distinguish them from the products of other breweries." Accompanying the lawsuit, Great Divide sent a cease and desist letter to Red Yeti applying to all "signs, menus, advertisements, packages" and other promotional materials.
We spoke on the podcast about the importance of collaboration and an eye for coexistence in a crowding industry. While we find it unfortunate that formal legal action has ensued, we emphasize that protecting a trademark requires continuing vigilance and some sort of action in the face of a perceived threat to the validity of a mark. Without any insight into any coexistence efforts between the two breweries, we will reserve commentary about the lawsuit. Sometimes parties reach and impasse and legal action is the only way to sort out allegations of infringement. We sincerely hope for a mutually beneficial outcome for both breweries and will keep you, the readers, updated on how things develop.
As a final note, we want to thank the host, Greg, for being so gracious and continuing to support important discourse and dialogue in the beer industry. We are honored to have had the opportunity to trek east to his Raleigh studio and contribute as meaningfully as possible to our shared mission. Check out Free to Brew on Facebook and Twitter and give a deserving follow.
Smash that play button, y'all. Until next week. Cheers!