UK beer trademarks reach record high

The number of beer names trademarked in the UK reached a record high last year, as the beer market becomes increasingly diverse.

Beer trademarks have almost doubled in five years. (Photo: RPC)

The number of beers trademarked in the UK rose 6% in 2018 to 2,519, up from 2,372 in 2017*, according to London law firm RPC.

BrewDog, for example, now has over 130 trademarks registered in the UK, while brewers such as Heineken, Guinness, and Ab InBev have added more beers to their portfolios in recent months.

Registered trademarks for beer have almost doubled in the last five years, rising 89% from 1,331 in 2013.

The boom in trademarks has also been spurred on my the rise in demand for non-alcoholic and low ABV beers. According to Nielsen data, sales of non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits reached a record high of £57m last year, an increase of 39%.

Ben Mark, IP Partner at RPC, said: “Relentless demand for new niche beer products and flavours is driving the number of beer trademark registrations to record highs.”

“The industry used to focus on consistency of product, now the focus is on variety.”

“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.”

However, the rise in trademark registrations could also mean more legal battles in the beer industry. 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.

RPC’s head of food and drink, Ciara Cullen, said both large distilleries and small craft breweries are keen to break into the no and low sector, but “in order to successfully do so, it won’t be enough to have a quality product at the right price point, you will need to develop a brand that really resonates with your target consumer and gives you the edge on the competition.”

“Properly protecting and enforcing your IP not only generates value in your brand but helps you achieve longevity in a highly competitive market.”

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