The number of trademarks registered for beer in the UK has hit a record high in 2018, jumping 6% to 2,519, according to UK-based law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC). The continued boom in demand for craft beer and an increased range of low-alcohol beers has driven up the number of trademark registrations.
Registered trademarks for beer have almost doubled in the last five years, rising 89% from 1,331 in 2013
BrewDog, for example, now has over 130 trademarks registered in the UK, including for its Albino Squid Assassin and Dead Pony Club beers.
The craft beer boom has triggered a number of major breweries to launch their own range of craft-style beers often needing their own set of trademarks. Heineken recently launched a new brand, Maltsmiths, to try to take advantage of the craft beer boom and compete with craft breweries. AB InBev recently launched craft beer, Lisa, in the UK, and Marstons now offers Revisionist craft beer.
RPC adds that the rise in beer trademarks is being further driven by the demand for low-alcohol and alcohol-free beer, which has resulted in a proliferation of new low-alcohol beer brands. This demand is partly driven by younger generations, more of whom are going ‘teetotal’ or choosing to cut back on their alcohol intake for health purposes. UK sales of non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits reached a record high of GBP 57m last year - an increase of 39%.
Ben Mark, partner at RPC, comments: “Relentless demand for new niche beer products and flavours is driving the number of beer trademark registrations to record highs.”
“Established players have learnt from the success of new entrants to the craft beer market and realised they can’t just offer consumers one product or one brand.”
RPC adds that as the number of beer trademarks continues to grow, so too does the likelihood of more legal battles over trade marks taking place. For example, Manchester based Cloudwater Brew was recently forced to rebrand its ‘Good Call Soda’ after Heineken said the name infringed on a trade mark it had registered for one of its brands, Fosters, for a TV advertising campaign (inside.beer, 24.9.2019).