Brewpubs are the latest rage among Minnesota residents who enjoy well-crafted beer and good food. Brewpub owners craft their beer onsite to sell to patrons who stop by for a bite and a brew.
Ensuring that their intellectual property (IP) is safe from infringement does not occur to many entering the microbrewery industry. Most don’t even realize they own any IP. However, identifying and safeguarding these items could be one of the most important legal steps when opening a brewery.
Since brewpubs serve house-made craft beer and foods, you probably have many “secret” recipes. Your beer blends and culinary creations are different from other offerings and therefore require trade secret protection. Three examples of what to protect include the following:
- Beer and food ingredient lists
- Complete beer and food recipes
- Unique beer-crafting and food preparation processes
Without protection, someone might “borrow” heavily from your recipes and processes, creating similar products that could draw away your customers.
Making your business easily recognizable helps attract new and repeat customers to your brewpub. This means creating branding elements that stand apart from the competition. Examples of branding components to protect are:
- Name of the business
- Names of your craft beers and food dishes
- Logos, sounds and images associated with your brand and products
Protection of brand materials can prevent a competitor from creating similar branding that a customer may mistake for yours, potentially costing you business.
What are your options?
Legal protections for IP include patents, trademarks and copyrights. If you aren’t sure what safeguards you need, guidance from a business law professional can help you make decisions that serve your and your brewpub’s best interests.