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Brits Are Trademarking More New Beer Names Than Ever

As the UK's craft beer obsession continues, new figures show that the number of people applying to trademark names of beer rose by 12 percent last year. (Is “Yeastie Boys” taken already taken?)
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
Photo via Flickr user Alpharetta CVB

The "craft beer scene" rarely gets mentioned without some sort of nod to the fact that it's "exploding," "on the rise," or—most likely from your elderly/less observant relatives—"the next big thing." We get it: Britain's pub-going population has realised that beers produced by small-scale breweries with handdrawn artwork on the labels are actually pretty drinkable. A survey from the Society of Independent Brewers found that craft beer production increased by 7 percent in 2013 alone. Some of us might have even started using words like "mouthfeel."


Figures released this week from a London law firm confirm that Britain is indeed in the grip of a craft beer craze, with more brewers inventing new varieties of the booze.

READ MORE: London's Craft Brewery Scene Isn't Full of Wankers

According to RPC, trademark applications for beers rose by 12 percent in 2014, making the number of people registering the name with which to christen their new brew (is "Yeastie Boys "taken?) 1485, up from 1331 in 2013.

The firm also noted a 50-percent jump in the number of breweries being opened over three years, reaching 1400 in 2014. Unlike Britain's pubs, which are closing in ever-increasing numbers, new breweries are opening at a rate of three a week, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

RPC claims that this rise in beer trademark registrations isn't just down to hipsters with yards of piping and vats of yeast in their back garden, but also supermarkets looking to increase their artisan beer offerings by commissioning independent producers to make exclusive ranges. Waitrose already stocks more than 20 craft beers and you'll have probably have noticed the "Specialty Beers" section of your local supermarket's drinks aisle encroaching onto the cans of rather less special Fosters.

"The craft beer industry in the UK has really taken off in the past few years with a surge of new independent breweries. Supermarkets are now looking to increase their sales from what is one of the fastest growing food and beverage categories." RPC head of retail Jeremy Drew told The Grocer.


READ MORE: Expat Hipsters Are Taking Over Taiwan's Craft Beer Scene

While craft beer may carry connotations of artisanal brewers more concerned with flavour profiles than profit margins, Drew warns that the sector's boom in popularity could lead to more market competition.

"Craft beer is one of the fastest growing food and beverage categories, and retailers and brewers are bumping up against each other more frequently," he said.

Indeed as The Daily Telegraph notes, London's Camden Town Brewery recently clashed with Norwich-based Redwell Brewery over the "Hells Lager" name, which it claimed the Norfolk brewery had no rights to sell as a beer brand.

So if you've got an ironic, beer-related bon mot just begging to be plastered across the bottle of a mid-strength pilsner, trademark that shit. It won't be long before some bearded hipster—or supermarket buying manager—gets there first.