Dry January Trademark Dispute

Big Drop Brewing Co have won their trademark dispute against the Institute of Alcohol Studies for the use of the name “Dry January”

Institute of Alcohol Studies, the slightly biased science organisation funded by the Temperance Movement trademarked Dry January in 2014 for use in education materials and programmes, but in 2022 they wanted to expand that trademark to cover low and no alcohol drinks.

A lot of lo/no producers use Dry January to promote their products rather than full alcohol products, and the Temperance Movement didn’t want that.
Thankfully Big Drop have won that case, and the prohibitionists can’t stop it being used.

BrewDog Granted Licence Extension at Waterloo

This pub has issues, lots. And yet it’s managed to get a licence extension to 1am and 2am, despite serving drunk customers, injuries to children and the staff regularly being attacked and the police regularly called.
And then this week, they even ignored police advice on St Georges Day to close for a couple of hours and ended up with more violence.
I’m not sure how this place has managed to keep its licence, let alone have it extended.

BrewDog Does Franchises

News coming out of America is that BrewDog has its first franchise location in Denver. A local brewery will be opening a BrewDog Outpost branded venue that will serve BrewDog’s beers alongside their own.
If this works well, we could well see more of these franchises, including possibly over here as BrewDog try to distance themselves from the trouble their bars are facing.

Stonegate Restructuring Quicker than Originally Planned

UK’s biggest PubCo, much beleaguered recently, see previous news round ups.

In an interview, David McDowall the CEO says that their process of reassigning Managed and Leased pubs has been speeding up 

This initially sounds like things are going great there, but when we look into it a bit more there’s another story. Quoted as saying “we’re not converting a lot of leased and tenanted pubs into managed by dint of the fact that the hurdle for what makes a really viable managed pub has gone up a little bit over the last few years”

Managed pubs are ones where they take all the risks, so any pub they see as doing well, they’re bringing back in house. Any pub that might be struggling or not performing as well as they’d like, they’re hanging the leaseholders out to dry.

It’s not just that though, they’re also converting some managed pubs to tenanted, if they’re not performing well.

And they’re speeding this process up, which looks a lot like they need to focus on high earning pubs, and farm off any loses from their end from the rest of their estate.

In short, I wouldn’t want to be a tenant for this company right now.

Fresh Ale

This week Timothy Taylor have stepped into the discussion around “Fresh Ale”, to promote it. They’re quoted as saying that if it draws more people to cask, then it’s a good thing.

Thing is, it’s not cask as the general public know it, it’s under-carbonated keg beer, with a handpull shaped tap.

This is the same Timothy Taylors who position themselves as premium and are always saying cask is premium, whilst selling bottles of their same beers cheap in supermarkets and even cheaper in bargain stores, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Shortage of Casks?

It’s being reported that Kegstar aren’t taking on any new cask accounts. Chatting to a few breweries who use Kegstar for their rentals, it’s looking like there’s a bottleneck at the collection and cleaning facility, with some breweries only able to get dirty casks sent to them and others only able to get ones they pick up from pubs themselves.

What this means for the drinker is a potential reduction in cask beers from further afield as breweries are having to use their own fleet of casks, which they don’t want to send off to potentially never see again.

New Tipping Laws Delayed

Pushed back from July to October to allow businesses more time for implementation.

New laws are basically All TIps Must Go To Staff. Companies can’t keep even a percentage of them. 

So any company that welcomes this delay is one that is skimming their staff’s tips.

We’ve already seen some places change “Service Charge” on bills to read “Brand Charge” to try and get around this new law, so this extra time will just give companies more opportunity to find workarounds.

DRS Delayed, Again.

But for good reason.

UK government have delayed the scheme by another two years, this time though to make sure that it’s inline with the ones in Wales and Scotland
This makes a lot of sense and explains the delay. Logos will be the same across all countries, so will the deposits, and containers from any country can be returned in any country.

Except Glass, only Wales are including glass.

Lots of issues with the Scottish scheme that was rushed in.

Lots of issues with the Irish scheme that was rushed out.

Welsh scheme will almost certainly have issues – other than including glass.

So hopefully by delaying it to be implemented properly across England, Scotland and Wales devolved parliaments at the same time these issues can be addressed.

Will do a more in-depth report on this soon.