[FRIDAY DRINKS] – Trademarks and the Free Market

Trademarks – I have been contacted by several, helpful and friendly IP lawyers. I am not sure about the next step. I have had offers of helping with writing a beginners guide, to offers to do presentations for a group of local brewers.

It has become much larger than I anticipated. Is there a way I can get multiple IP lawyers to contribute together to get the ultimate beginners guide to craft beer trademarking? Or am I going to have to partner with just one? I will get in contact next week with all parties that have made offers to help and work out a solution where hopefully everyone can win.

Next week I am thinking about tackling the topic of “understanding the free market, and do we really operate in a free market”. I got to this point with a comment about customers want to buy Epic from the shelves of a supermarket, but because other breweries buy shelf space, the supermarket can’t stock Epic (insert name of any craft beer brand here) for the customers that want to buy it.

So it will be a call out to the craft brewing industries favourite economist Eric Crampton to help me make sense of this.

It is a similar argument with the contracting of beer taps by the large breweries. How can it be a free market if the duopoly create a barrier to entry through the purchasing on beer taps from bars, therefore stopping them from being able to stock anything they or their drinkers want.

I’m told it isn’t illegal as it is an agreement between the bar owner and the brewery. The bar gets cash or other incentives in return for letting the brewery to have exclusive rights to pouring their beer through those taps for an agreed period of time.

Maybe it might also be fun to get some figures from a bar and look at a comparison of going on contract or being a freehouse and offering beers that customers want to buy. Be interesting to see if getting cash from a large brewery is a better business decision than going it on your own and just stocking the best beer available for your beer drinking public.

Discussion from Facebook

  • Sam Whitney yes but if capitalism is your only interest you are already fucked.


    • Luke Nicholas the point I care to make is that craft beers have a high barrier to entry, not from the set up cost (as many are contract brewing) but actually getting a far showing in the market place, by getting shelf space, without having to pay for it.


  • Richard Kelsey The Australian Commerce Commission is investigating the buying of tap contracts by the big two over here (Lion / CUB). Would be interesting if the same occurred in NZ with Lion & DB


  • Leon Grandy Distributors are close to end customers, this makes them very valuable. Ultimately, its their decision. But informed customers can and do vote with their feet and their wallets.


  • Joseph Benjamin Smith It’s a very simple decision for me. In Auckland in particular rent for a decent site for a bar is ridiculously expensive. So much so that around 80% of new bars fail in the first 2 years. Thus taking 50-100k from Lion to fit their bar out and own their…See More
    Like · Reply · 1 · 7 February at 23:29 · Edited


  • Luke Nicholas I want to propose that this isn’t the only way to start a bar, because at the end of the day all these bars end up offering the cheapest beer options, and they need to move large volumes to meet their contracts. Can craft beer give a higher dollar return?


  • Leon Grandy Aussie is a big place. They will go for a big walk, because the prizes are big too.


  • Mark Thomas · Friends with Paul Tudor

    I’ve been surprised that the Lumsden can sell a pint of great craft beer for about the same price that other bars sell Macs or Monteiths. The difference in the cost of bottles of the same beers in supermarkets is massive. Lion and DB must get their money back pretty quickly



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