The number of trademarks registered for beer in the UK hit a record high last year, jumping 6% to 2,519, up from 2,372 in 2017.
According to law firm 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. BrewDog, for example, now has over 130 trademarks registered in the UK.
The demand for low-alcohol and alcohol-free beer 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 £57m last year – an increase of 39%.
Registered trademarks for beer have almost doubled in the last five years, rising 89% from 1,331 in 2013 (see graph below).
“Relentless demand for new, niche beer products and flavours is driving the number of beer trademark registrations to record highs,” says Ben Mark, IP partner at RPC. “The industry used to focus on consistency of product, now the focus is on variety.”
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.