54:29 MIN

Trademark and Branding for Craft Beverages

October 18, 2017

Trademark Attorney Mike Kanach Discusses Branding of Craft Beverages

A lawyer and a designer walk into a bar. This podcast continues the podcast series of Branding Brews, covering topics of beer branding, design, and marketing. In this episode, designer Ryan Wheaton of Portland discusses branding and trademarks with attorney Michael Kanach of San Francisco.  Mike is an intellectual property partner at the law firm Gordon & Rees in San Francisco, where he has experience with trademarks and trade dress for food and beverages, including craft beverages, beer, wine, and spirits.
Ryan and Mike discuss various topics involving branding and trademarks related to craft beer, including some benefits of obtaining a registered trademark and strategies of choosing a strong or distinctive name or brand.  They also discuss some famous disputes over trademarks involving breweries and other alcoholic beverages, strategies on avoiding a dispute, as well as what to consider when re-branding.
Mike suggests talking to an attorney who is familiar with the craft beer industry and trademarks, because they can help to avoid certain foreseeable disputes.
But when choosing a name for your brewery or beer, Mike suggests that breweries use a few free search tools first, before talking to an attorney, because it will help save some time and money, including searches on google and various government and industry-specific websites:


It makes sense to search all the foregoing before choosing your name to know your risks. It also makes sense to talk to an attorney to evaluate those risks and others you might not foresee.
If you need help with your branding or trademark search, or…
If you have received a cease and desist letter and don’t know how to respond, or…
If you want to discuss craft beer and branding…
Feel free to contact Mike Kanach at:


  1. Thanks, Ryan. It has been a pleasure working with you on this podcast and listening to your other Branding Brews podcasts. I hope this one is fun and educational for your listeners.

    1. Ryan Wheaton says:

      Yes, BIG thanks Mike!! Great learning more about the legal and trademark side of things. Cheers

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