In Craft Today, It's Pass The Sticks

FILED APRIL 18, 2018

Dear Client:

"Pass the sticks" is video game slang for your time is up, another person's turn to take over the controls.

It's indicative of a popular game that other people want to try their hand at. If you don't hear the phrase or see the controls sit unmanned after a person bows out, then that's typically not a very good sign for that game.

Why on earth are we telling you all this?

Because "pass the sticks" is happening throughout the craft beer industry, which to us is a sign that craft brewing is still alive and well (even if closings are on the rise).

Take this stat from a recent Westword report for example: Colorado has seen 20 brewers shutter since the start of 2017 (sixteen last year and four so far in 2018). Of those 20 breweries, "at least eleven of them have been, or will be, replaced by another brewery - in the same exact space," according to the outlet. Pass the sticks.

MUSICAL CHAIRS. One person may try their hand at brewing, and fail, but there's another person right behind them anxiously awaiting a shot. Sooner or later the hope is that the next person up will rule the sticks and not have to give them up.

The point of this is there is a lot of rotation going on out there, and it begs the following questions:

Are the people taking over a defunct brewery better brewers, with an eye toward quality, freshness, draft, glassware? Are they creating great beers consumers want? Are they better restaurant operators, better managers? These are crucial questions.
Are the new people taking over a defunct brewery better capitalized, and better business people in general? Do they have the cash to make it word for the long haul? It takes serious capital to run a restaurant/brewery to do it right.
And finally, do they know the beer business? Are they familiar with the laws? If they are packaging breweries, do they know how to deal with distributors? With retailers? With logistics? Rotation? Cooperage and dunnage? Etc etc etc.

Because those are the three table stakes it takes to make it in today's beer business. Some get it, but sadly, many if not most new brewers do not.


If you've seen the label for Knee Deep's Breaking Bud IPA, then the following suit shouldn't come as any surprise.

The only surprise here, really, is that it took Sony Pictures Television -- the producer of "legendary" TV show Breaking Bad -- this long to file suit.

Knee Deep launched Breaking Bud IPA in 2015 and Sony, owners of the BREAKING BAD marks, didn't file suit until yesterday.

The entertainment company is suing the California brewery for "trademark infringement, dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition, among other claims," per Hollywood Reporter.

In the complaint, Sony claims the California brewery "deliberately imitated the BREAKING BAD logo and marketed their product by incorporating other design elements clearly meant to evoke SPT's legendary show." *Checks the label again, yeah, that sounds about right.

Sony seeks "an injunction to stop Knee Deep from using 'Breaking Bud' and the current design and logo and damages," per report.

OUR TAKE: The label was fun while it lasted.

Until tomorrow,
Jordan, Jenn, and Harry

"The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible." - David M. Ogilvy

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