Today, April 7, is National Beer Day, which commemorates April 7, 1933, the day that the Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect allowing the legal sale of low-alcohol beer in the US. It was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt at which time he famously remarked: “I think this would be a good time for a beer,” ending the nation’s 13-year-long dry spell.
The beer business is big business and has been for ages. Even before global marketing campaigns, commercials, ads, and social media, a company’s logo has been important for recognition of a brand and product. In fact, the world’s oldest REGISTERED logo belongs to Bass Ale, holder of trademark number one and hs remained relatively unchanged for a remarkable amount of time. The Bass Pale Ale’s recognizable red triangle logo design is the first legally registered trademark under the Trade Mark Registration Act (and reportely in use sine the 1600s). The Act went into effect on January in 1876 and apparently, legend has it that a Bass employee waited overnight outside the registrar’s office to be the first in line to register a trademrk the next morning. As a result, Bass received the first two registrations, the Bass Red Triangle for their pale ale and the Bass Red Diamond next for their strong ale.
Stella Artois is another notable beer company in regards to trademark usage. The logo’s first use can be traced back to 1366 and is the world’s oldest logo. Despite numerous changes in management since it creation, the original horn logo hasn’t changed in 60 years and according to Plato Logic Limited, a beer market data company, Stella Artois is the best-selling Belgian beer in the world.
The highly popular trend of craft brewing has led to a spike in the number of beer brands. According to BeerAdvocate.com, the website now tracks more than 93,000 beer brands, which has also led to a significant rise in trademark infringement cases among breweries. This makes it extremely important to create unique trademarks as they define a brewery and help to shape the brand narrative just as Bass and Stella have done for hundreds of years. With such a crowded field, it is essential to protect your intellectual property. By not actively policing trademarks for unauthorized use, companies risk confusing customers and diluting the power of the mark or brand.