As seen on The Denver Channel

Craft brewers are running out of names for beer and it’s causing trademark problems

By Kristen Skovira

BOULDER, Colo. – Beers with names like White Rascal, Nitro Milk Stout and Skinny Dip line beer aisles across Colorado, but with more breweries launching every year, brewers are running out of names for their brews.

Nearly every city, creature or concept is now the name of a brewery or a beer and it’s causing trademark troubles.

It sounds simple enough: make a beverage and name it. Now breweries are struggling to create original names, as the marketplace becomes flooded with craft beer.

Founder of Boulder’s Avery Brewing Company, Adam Avery, is no stranger to the growing problem.

“I think every name has been taken, or a different version of a name,” he said.

According to the Brewers Association, more than 3,000 breweries are currently operational. Overlapping names are inevitable.

Avery, for example, had christened one of his beers “Salvation” not realizing California Brewery Russian River had done the same. Instead of taking legal action or issuing as cease and desist, they did what you might expect brew masters to do.

“We sat down and drank and did a blend of the two ‘Salvations’ at a certain percentage of each,” says Adams. “Came up with the idea to do this and call it ‘Collaboration Not Litigation’.”

Not everyone is so agreeable and that’s when craft-beer attorney Candace Moon gets involved. This San Diego-based lawyer handles disputes from all over the country.

“I’ve definitely seen it get ugly, but I think that’s more just because people get very emotional about trademarks,” says Moon. “They get very attached to names and logos and they feel like it’s really part of them.”

Moon says naming individual beers is an industry trend and one that will keep brewers calling her before printing their labels.