This week’s guest comes at the beer world through a unique angle—the legal lens. He’s a lawyer based in New York State whose firm works with small brewers on a variety of business issues, but his personal focus at the firm is in trademark and IP.
You’ve probably come across his thoughts on Twitter, where he shares updates on major trademark disputes like the Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada battle over the term IPA and Stone’s fight with MillerCoors over the Keystone brand. Brendan’s commentary—which is shared on his blog, but mostly on Twitter—has become something of a 101 guide for brewers and beer fans on how to talk about these things.
If you’ve seen these debates, you know the beer world could really use a primer.
While it’s true that most beer fans don’t like to see lawsuits between brands they’re fans of, the business reality is that, sometimes, these things need to be handled by professionals. And that often serves to highlight how delicate some of the bonds can be among breweries who otherwise subscribe to a cooperative ideal. The reality is that there are 7,000 breweries out there, and you owe it to your employees and shareholders to protect what’s their’s, regardless of the optics.
On today’s episode, we dig into Brendan’s career and his perspective on the state of craft brewing from a legal perspective. After that, he elaborates on some of the cases that have made him Twitter famous.