Lifestyle Creep is a Slippery Slope

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By: Rich LeBranti

Suddenly you’re paying for a house that is too big, or a lease on a pickup truck you don’t use or just a membership to that fancy gym that you haven’t had the time to take advantage of yet. If your regular expenses are being paid for by credit cards or you can’t seem to save money at the end of each month, you might look toward “lifestyle creep” as the culprit. While it is easy to understand what lifestyle creep is and how it happens, it is still dangerously common among young professionals and those midway through their careers. 

Lifestyle creep or lifestyle inflation happens when you begin to earn more, and your spending increases right along with those paychecks. A new pair of shoes, a nicer apartment, a fancy car. These types of splurges are just the type of choices made by those who are falling victim to lifestyle creep. While, on its face there is nothing wrong with improving your quality of life as you begin to earn more, it is monumentally important that you have budgeted for your existing expenses, have a three-month emergency fund and have made a plan for saving for your retirement. 

Since about 2015, financial advisors have been using a time horizon of 100 years old to plan for their clients’ retirement. That is a lot of years past the time you may be planning to retire. With that comes rising medical costs as you age, inflation and the unknown of how you’d like to live in retirement and what you’d like to experience (and what it all costs). Planning for, saving for and investing in your retirement savings accounts is paramount to protecting your well-being in retirement. 

Lifestyle creep doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it’s hard for people to notice that it is even happening until suddenly they’re over extended financially. Putting off saving in order spend on the things that you want or feel you need right now is a slippery slope and suddenly you may find yourself way behind your goal when it comes to your retirement plan.

When your expenses equal your income and there is no room for savings, you are putting yourself in a position where you don’t have any buffer when something comes up that you really do need money for. That is usually when people begin getting into debt. Using credit cards to pay for monthly expenses or using credit cards to fund unexpected large expenses and not being able to pay them off completely each month is the risk. The interest on your credit cards alone is now causing you to be paying 15% more for each item you buy. 

So, what can you do to avoid lifestyle creep? Here are three recommendations that we think curb the problem: 

1. Make a Budget

The only way to understand and change how you spend your money is by recording what you are spending and keeping track of it monthly. You must first put continuing and unavoidable expenses as the first priority (rent or mortgage, car payment, insurance, utilities, student loan payments, etc.). Then you must consider what you will need for household items like groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, pet food, etc. Once you have a handle on what those relatively fixed expenses are, then you need to determine what you will be saving each month for your emergency fund and for your retirement savings account whether it is a 401(k), IRA or another vehicle. Now is the fun part: Figuring out how and when to spend your disposable income! Our recommendation: Always choose experiences over stuff. Those memories last a lifetime. 

2. Try NOT to increase your expenses every time your income goes up.

Just because you’re making more money doesn’t mean you need to spend more, especially not immediately on frivolous items. It is good to set goals for hard earned wage increases and reward your good work with something that has true value or true necessity. You may be planning to get married, have a child, buy your first house or your first born is going to college in a few years. Using that raise as a vehicle for ramped up saving is a great way to curb your impulses and plan for a bright future.

3. The Gig Economy 

Having a side hustle or the opportunity to work freelance outside of your nine to five is a great way to earn extra cash and a great way to save if your paycheck and your expenses simply must stay neck and neck for the time being. According to a recent article in Forbes, the average side hustle earns workers about $8,000 per year in extra income. That would more than fully fund a Roth IRA for the year and not take a bite out of your paycheck. 

Spending on new toys (big or little), memberships you can’t really afford, and other frivolities can lead you to an outcome that may make you have regrets down the line. Prudence and patience are key to avoiding these common mistakes that lead to lifestyle creep. We hope that you take heed of our recommendations and that implementing them into your life helps you stay on the track to financial freedom. 

 

An Employment Lawyer’s Tips For Crafting a Job Application (Pun Definitely Intended)

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By: Brian Casaceli
Associate at Mirick O’Connell
Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Group

Job applications can be an area with many traps for the unwary. Recruiting qualified applicants is a necessity for all employers – craft breweries included.  To assist in the hiring process, breweries should prepare job applications that elicit information needed to identify and evaluate qualified applicants.  In crafting a job application, breweries should be aware of state and federal employment laws governing what questions it may and, more importantly, may not, ask.  

What Can, And Should, Be Included In A Job Application 

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Every application should inform applicants that the brewery is an equal opportunity employer and will consider all applications for employment without regard to an applicant’s membership in a group or class protected by federal, state, or local law.  

Similarly, to ensure qualified individuals with a disability under state or federal law are afforded an equal employment opportunity to participate in the application process, breweries should  include a statement informing applicants to contact a designated individual at the brewery (i.e., the HR Manager) if they need a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process.   

Work History Questions

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            Breweries should ask applicants to list prior employers, the positions and dates held, hours worked per week, and the applicant’s reason for leaving.  Notably, when the application requests a candidate’s previous work experience, it should specifically inform the applicant that he/she may list any verified work performed on a volunteer basis. 

To the extent a brewery intends to conduct reference checks with prior employers the applicant identifies, the brewery should have the applicant specifically authorize his/her present and former employers to disclose to the brewery information regarding the applicant’s prior employment, and release all parties from any liability whatsoever resulting from such disclosure.   

 Education Questions

            Breweries may ask about the applicant’s educational background to the extent it is relevant to the requirements of the position for which the applicant is applying.  Questions about the name of the high school/GED, college/university, trade school, level of education obtained, location, area of study, and degrees earned are all appropriate.  Breweries should not, however, ask for graduation dates as such data could be used as a proxy to determine an applicant’s age and could provide fodder for an age discrimination claim from an applicant not chosen for the job. 

            If a brewery intends to conduct a check with an applicant’s educational institution, the applicant should authorize the institution to provide the brewery with pertinent information relative to the applicant, and release all parties from any liability whatsoever resulting from such disclosure.                  

            Questions Not to Ask on a Job Application or During an Interview

Questions About Personal Characteristics Protected by Law 

            The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recommends employers not ask applicants about personal characteristics protected by law, including race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin or age.  Brewers should also refrain from asking any similar questions during an interview with the applicant, or at any other point during the hiring process. 

            The EEOC further notes that job applications may not seek information concerning, and interviewers may not ask questions about, an applicant’s disability, questions that are likely to reveal whether an applicant has a disability, or questions that seek an applicant’s genetic information. 

Criminal History Questions

In 2010, Massachusetts enacted “ban the box” legislation that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their criminal history on the initial employment application.  Last summer, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey warned seventeen employers in Massachusetts, and issued fines to four national employers with multiple locations in Massachusetts, for asking criminal history-related questions on initial job applications.  Given the Attorney General’s heightened enforcement of the law, craft breweries are well-advised to remove any criminal history related questions from their initial job applications. 

Massachusetts law does, however, permit an employer, in certain circumstances, to ask applicants about their criminal history after the initial job application, such as during an interview.  Before asking such questions, a brewery should seek advice of legal counsel.          

Salary History Questions 

On July 1, 2018, an amended version of the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (“MEPA”) went into effect.  Except in limited circumstances, MEPA prohibits employers from asking applicants questions about their salary history at any point in the hiring process. Breweries may not, for example, inquire about the amount of money applicants make at their present job on an initial job application or during a subsequent in-person interview.  (Breweries may inquire about an applicant’s salary history in limited situations: (1) to confirm wage or salary history information voluntarily shared by the prospective employee; or (2) after an offer of employment with compensation has been made to the prospective employee.)   

Guidance from the Attorney General’s office advises employers that they may inquire about an applicant’s salary expectations (e.g. what the applicant is looking to make in the position for which they are applying).  To the extent such an inquiry is made, breweries must be careful not to ask the question in a way that is designed to elicit the employee’s salary history.     

Social Security Numbers

            Generally speaking, although employers are not legally precluded from asking applicants to provide their social security number on a job application, brewers should avoid collecting a social security number until after an offer of employment has been made and the information is needed to conduct a background and/or credit check.     

Lie Detector Tests

            Employers in Massachusetts may not require an applicant to undergo a lie detector test as a condition of employment or continued employment.  In fact, under Massachusetts law, all job applications must include the following statement:

It is unlawful in Massachusetts to require or administer a lie detector test as a condition of employment or continued employment.  An employer who violates this law shall be subject to criminal penalties and civil liability. 

Applicant’s Acknowledgment 

A job application should conclude by having the applicant review and acknowledge the following:

-      All of the information provided in the application is true, accurate and complete to the best of the applicant’s knowledge;

-      Omissions or false statements may result in withdrawal of a job offer or termination of employment if the applicant is hired;  

-      If offered employment at the brewery, the acceptance of such employment will not cause the applicant to violate any other agreement to which he/she is bound (i.e. a non-competition or non-disclosure agreement); 

-      To the extent the applicant is hired for employment, he/she will be an at-will employee and will have no contractual employment rights; and 

-      An offer of employment may be conditioned on the results of pre-employment drug screening, criminal records and/or background check.  

To the extent that a brewery seeks a credit check or an investigative consumer report as part of a background check, the brewery must comply with applicable state law and the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act which, in part, requires that the applicant be provided a separate disclosure and authorization form. Given the law’s technical requirements, breweries are advised to seek legal counsel when such checks are necessary. 

If a brewery intends to conduct pre-employment drug testing, the job application should explicitly identify this fact.  Giving advance notice to applicants that they may be required to undergo a drug test as part of the application process will create a diminished expectation of privacy, making it harder for an applicant to bring an invasion of privacy claim against a brewery.       

 Until next time, cheers!

 

How tax credits can make breweries more profitable

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By: STEPHEN FULLER AND COREY VENEZIANO

Although the growing movement in craft beer is great for the industry as a whole, the increase in the number of microbreweries over the past several years has created a new level of competition. One way for craft breweries to gain a stronger financial foothold in the industry is by taking advantage of various tax incentives and other accounting strategies, which not only positively impact the bottom line, but can encourage practices that give the brewery many differentiating factors.

R&D — present and past

Although other tax credits exist, the Research and Development Tax Credit (also known as the R&D Tax Credit) in particular is perfectly suited to the craft brewing industry because it rewards innovations and improvements such as creating and/or improving the fermentation and distillation process, improving filtration and/or straining methods, developing new mash mixtures, developing new bottling or casking methods and automating processes.

Other, more general activities that can also allow a craft brewer to claim the R&D Tax Credit include:

  • Developing new products and/or packaging,

  • Improving shelf life and durability of products,

  • Making products more nutritious and/or more appetizing,

  • Improving food safety,

  • Producing samples for sensory evaluation,

  • Increasing efficiencies and consistency,

  • Reducing scrap rates,

  • Reducing environmental impact,

  • Spending capital on production equipment for new lines or line expansion, and

  • Building a new production facility.

Organizations that have experienced challenges scaling up production may also be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit. For breweries that qualify, wages, supplies and contract research costs associated with R&D projects can all be claimed.

Tax credits may also provide financial relief for years past as well as the current year. Craft breweries looking to take advantage of the R&D Tax Credit should look back to open years — typically up to three years prior — to claim missed credits. And while the R&D Tax Credit is a federal tax credit, there are also 35 states that allow for some form of additional research and development credit. Beyond that, some states also have other credits that may be utilized for fixed-asset additions and increased investment in personnel.

Beyond R&D

In addition to the R&D Tax Credit, there are some secondary credits that, while not as widely available, are still out there. These are especially helpful if a brewery is incurring expenses from payroll or other items.

The R&D Tax Credit payroll offset, enacted as part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, allows eligible breweries (and other small businesses) with little or no income tax liability to offset the R&D Tax Credit against payroll taxes instead of income taxes. To qualify, the brewery must have less than $5 million for the current taxable year and no gross receipts for any taxable year preceding the five-taxable-year period ending with the current taxable year. This claim must be made on a timely filed original tax return, and up to $250,000 of annual federal R&D credits can be allocated against payroll tax liability, beginning in the first quarter after the filing of the income tax return.

Additionally, the FICA tip credit might be applicable if the brewery has a restaurant piece to it, or even simply serves its beer — the common denominator here is that the brewery employs servers who receive tips. Breweries may also want to look in to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). This is a federal tax credit that refunds up to 40 percent of wages for employees who come from certain target groups including veterans, ex-felons and other individuals from groups who have traditionally faced significant barriers in getting hired. Organizations do need to be pre-certified to take advantage of this credit, but the financial incentives could prove incredibly valuable.

Cost segregation studies, while not a credit per se, may also hold some financial advantages for breweries. The advantages to a cost segregation study are potentially the accelerated depreciation of fixed assets — so instead of being required to spread tax deductions for things like a building project over 39 years (which is standard), a brewery owner can reclassify a portion of the cost over an accelerated life (i.e., five to seven years). Further, the reclassified assets may qualify for bonus depreciation or Section 179 expensing, resulting in additional year one deductions. This is especially helpful for brewers just starting their businesses, as it provides one crucial way of maximizing deductions.

In addition to the tax benefits discussed here, craft breweries need to be on the lookout for other opportunities in an ever-changing tax environment, including those outlined in the comprehensive tax reform legislation passed by Congress last December (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — TCJA), as well as by incorporating a more integrated/third-party approach to back office support — areas like human resources, general bookkeeping, inventory and others. The environment for craft breweries may be competitive, but by implementing tax credits and other strategies, the opportunities to rise above the competition abound.

Stephen Fuller and Corey Veneziano are both partners at blumshapiro, the largest regional accounting, tax and business advisory firm based in New England.

Statewide Celebration of Mass. Produced Beer #MassBeerWeek held March 2 through March 9, 2019

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FRAMINGHAM, Mass. | On Saturday, March 2,  spanning from North Adams to Mashpee, Mass Beer Week kicks off its weeklong series of events featuring local beer on tap. 

The tribute provides an opportunity for craft brewers to share their creativity and passion for the beverage they love with locals, fans and tourists. Breweries, beer bars, package stores and restaurants will host events including special beer releases, beer and food pairings, tap takeovers, a homebrew competition, a charity hockey game, and more, to celebrate the ever-evolving beer culture across the Commonwealth. 

In 2007, there were just 30 breweries in Massachusetts. To date, there are 178 active breweries across the Commonwealth, with 24 breweries in planning slated to open by the end of 2019. 

 “This is the one week a year when we hope everyone in the craft beer industry will come together to shine a bright spotlight on the amazing craft beer scene that’s growing here in Massachusetts,” says Katie Stinchon, executive director of the Mass Brewers Guild. “Our breweries pride themselves in using local ingredients and local suppliers, employing local residents and supporting our communities. In turn, we hope that Bay Staters will take pride in drinking local with us all week long.” 

What’s on tap for Mass Beer Week:

  •  Want to check out the state’s newest breweries? Get your tickets for Meet the Brewers Freshman Class of 2019. Attendees can experience a unique roundtable style tasting event as they sample suds from nine freshman brewers and hear their start-up story. Snacks and new friends included. The event takes place at Lookout Farm in Natick on Saturday, March 2. Tickets are $48.

  • Farmhouse beers and French toast, lagers and links, brown ales and bacon … need we say more? On Sunday, March 3 The Dirty Truth in Northampton will serve up a special brunch menu paired with an all local lineup of beers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

  •  Available only once a year during #MassBeerWeek, the anticipated release of Amherst Brewing Co.’s Giulietta, an imperial iteration of the IPA Juliette, will launch on Wednesday, March 6.

  • Expand your knowledge of the brewing process while learning about the inner workings of Wormtown Brewery during Craft’d Company’s Beers with the Brewers event. Taste four distinct beers while learning the history and style of each brew. The event takes place on Thursday, March 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20. 

  • On Thursday, March 7, join Zelus Beer Company and Salt & Lemons for a six course tasting experience at Powisset Farm. Guests will be guided through understanding complimentary flavor profiles from appetizers through dessert.. Registration required. Trustees member: $72, Nonmember: $90

  • Homebrewers can enter to win a chance to brew their beer professionally at Barrel House Z and have it served on tap. Entries can be dropped off at Barrel House Z on February 13 or 14 from 4 to 9 p.m. and the winner will be chosen and announced on Saturday, March 9. Learn more HERE.

  •  On Saturday, March 9 brewers will trade in rubber boots for hockey skates and lace up to help raise money for their trade association in the MBG’s inaugural Winter Classic charity hockey game. Friends, family, and craft beer fans can spectate and enjoy a beer tasting in the stands. Tickets are free for those ages 13 and under, $15 for the game only and $45 for the game and beer tasting. 

  • To celebrate Mass Beer Week, Bright Ideas Brewing and Naukabout Brewing went the distance — 200 miles — to team up to create a New England IPA made with cranberries from Cape Cod bogs and brewed with love right in North Adams. They’ll tap the keg on Saturday, March 9, just before George Clinton and P-Funk take the stage at MASS MoCA, Learn more HERE.

New events are being added daily. Visit MassBeerWeek.org for the full calendar. 

Mass Beer Week is hosted by the Mass Brewers Guild and made possible thanks to volunteers and industry friends at BeerAdvocate, Craft’d Events, Fat Basset Design and the Mass. Brew Bros. The Mass Brewers Guild is the state’s trade association that works to protect and promote the interests of craft brewers across the Commonwealth. For more information about the Mass Brewers Guild, visit MassBrewersGuild.org. 

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Worcester’s Bravest Belgian Wit ReleaseD

Worcester, MA:  In response to the tragic death of Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy, Wachusett Brewing Co., and Wormtown Brewing Co., have come together to brew up Worcester’s Bravest, a beer committed to raising funds for the Ava Roy Fund in support of Roy’s 9-yr old daughter.

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One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the fund that has been set up by the Worcester International Association of Firefighters Local 1009.

“We are super excited to team up with Wachusett on the project.” said David Fields, Managing Partner of Wormtown Brewery. “I cannot think of a better way to honor Firefighter Roy’s memory and his family.”

The beer style for Worcester’s Bravest is a Belgian Wit, a light-bodied, unfiltered, wheat beer.  “It has sweet and zesty citrus notes with some complex pepper spice and herbal hops” said Ben Roesch, Brewmaster of Wormtown Brewery”.  “While still being refreshing and easy drinking” added Dave Howard, Brewmaster at Wachusett Brewing Company.

“Wachusett Brewing Company has had a long relationship with the Worcester Firefighter Community dating back to our original support of the Leary Firefighter Foundation” said Christian McMahan, President of Wachusett Brewing Company.  “David and I have been speaking for over a year about doing something, up until now we never had the right reason to come together, we are both honored to be a part of something that has such a profound impact on our community.”

Donations can also be made directly to the Ava Roy Fund and mailed to the Worcester Fire Department Credit Union, 34 Glennie St, Worcester, MA 01605.

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Those interested in helping to raise a pint and funds for the Ava Roy foundation can visit the brewery’s respective tap rooms, located at:

Wachusett Brewing Co.
175 State Rd E, Westminster, MA 01473

Wormtown Brewing Co.
72 Shrewsbury St, Worcester, MA 01604

Trademarking Your Brewery

By: by Patrick A. Quinlan

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Trademarks are a brewery’s public face to its customers and the marketplace, and the goodwill protected by trademarks can be one of its most important assets.  The best way to protect that value is to register trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  By understanding tactics and strategies that are effective before the USPTO, you can maximize the opportunity to obtain full Federal protection for your brands. 

Trademarks cover names, logos, brands, or other identifications of the source of goods and services.  An example trademark is the name Sierra Nevada®. The holder of a trademark has the right to stop anyone from using a confusingly similar name, logo, or other brand for similar goods or services.  For example, if someone wanted to start a brewpub with the name Sienna Nevarda, the name “Sienna Nevarda” would likely be too similar to Sierra Nevada® to gain a trademark registration.  But if Sienna Nevarda, or even Sierra Nevada, were a trucking company, then the USPTO might grant a trademark registration because, while the name is similar, the businesses are different and may not cause confusion in the marketplace.  A trademark may last into perpetuity as long as the owner of the mark continues to use the mark in connection with the goods and services, although the trademark registration is subject to periodic renewal.

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A simple trademark application may be filed without professional assistance using forms on the USPTO website, but depending on the trademark complexity, value to your brewery, and your capacity to spend the time necessary to properly submit a trademark application, a professional trademark attorney may be sought.

The Basics of a Trademark Application
A trademark application must specify the trademark sought to be registered and the goods or services with which the mark is used or is to be used.  The specified mark can be a word or phrase in standard character form, meaning that any use of the mark will be covered regardless of font or added design elements (e.g., a logo’s graphics). Alternatively, the specified mark can be a design, with or without words, and can even be a sound, such as a television network’s chime, or a color, such as pink for insulation in the case of Owens Corning.  

When selecting a trademark, it is best to choose one that is sufficiently different from other marks associated with similar products or services.  The Trademark Office provides an interface on its website (uspto.gov) for searching already-registered marks.  A trademark should also be distinctive in relation to the goods or services.  For example, the Trademark Office will reject a trademark for “Cerveza” (Spanish for beer) if it is to be used in conjunction with selling beer but has registered the term in a distinctive combination with other terms, even with respect to beer.

The specified goods or services can be broadly listed (e.g., “beer”).  The Trademark Office has divided various types of goods and services into 45 classes, but these classes typically have no effect on a trademark application other than cost.  If an application is to cover goods or services that are in two different classes, the government filing fee, as well as many other fees, for the application will be twice as much.  A trademark application covering beer falls under one class, class 32.

In addition, the application must be filed in the name of the entity that is or will be using the trademark. For example, a brewery’s trademark must be filed in the name of the brewery, not the president or owner. Filing in the name of the wrong entity will result in an invalid trademark application, leaving any resulting registration vulnerable to cancellation.

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Understanding the Application Process
The application process begins with preparing and filing a trademark application.  There are two basic types of trademark applications: use-based and intent-to-use.  The Trademark Office will only issue registered trademarks to those who actually use a mark in connection with specified goods or services.  An applicant has the option of filing an intent-to-use application, which means that the applicant has not yet actually used the subject mark in connection with goods or services, but has a bona fide intent to use the mark.  The application will be examined similarly to a use-based application, but if the application is allowed, the mark will not become registered until the applicant shows that the mark is in use.

Once filed, an application will experience a period of pendency before it is first examined.  That time is typically three to four months.  Once examined, if not rejected for one or more issues, the application will be scheduled to publish for its 30-day opposition period.  If not opposed, a use-based application will be put in line for registration, which will issue a number of weeks later.  If the application is an intent-to-use application, the applicant will need to show uses of the mark before being put in the registration queue.  In all, if the examiner does not raise any issues during examination, the time from application filing to registration is usually about eight to ten months for a use-based application.

During examination, however, a trademark application may be rejected on a number of grounds (e.g., likely confusion with an already-registered mark).  The applicant will have an opportunity to respond to the rejections, and if they are not resolved, the applicant can appeal.  During the 30-day opposition period, any party who believes that it will be harmed by registration of the trademark can oppose the application.  An opposition is a proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that is similar to a lawsuit in Federal court.

If ultimately rejected or successfully opposed, it is not necessarily the case that the applicant is not allowed to use the mark, but the applicant will not have the added protections of Federal registration, such as the ability to sue in Federal court and presumptions of validity that favor the holder of a registered trademark.

Keeping Your Trademark Registered
Trademark registrations must be renewed every ten years.  For each renewal, the owner must show that it is still using the mark for the specified goods or services and must pay a renewal fee.

In addition to renewal every ten years, new registrations are subject to the requirement that the owner show use between the fifth and sixth anniversaries, as well as pay a fee.  At this time, the owner may also claim that the registration has become incontestable through substantially exclusive and continuous use for five years.

If a registration is not renewed it will become cancelled.  If cancelled, there is no mechanism for reviving the registration; the only solution is to re-file the application.  But such a re-filed application might not be successful, so it is important to keep track of renewal deadlines.  The USPTO has recently been sending reminders for renewals, but has not always done so and is not required to do so.  If an attorney handles your trademark application, the attorney can keep track of such deadlines in his docket to send reminders.

When properly planned, trademark applications can be a relatively inexpensive, but important, part of an intellectual property strategy for your brewery, providing valuable coverage for your brands and marketing.

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Patrick Quinlan is a patent and trademark attorney with a Buffalo office of Hamilton, Brook, Smith & Reynolds, P.C., Concord and Boston, Massachusetts.  Patrick is a home brewer and speaks on the topic of protecting your brewery through trademarks and patents.  When he is not brewing himself, he can be reached at his office at paq@hbsr.com and 617-607-5918.

 

Mass Beer Week Home Brewer Competition

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2018 was an amazing year for craft beer in Massachusetts and 2019 is gearing up to be even better. To celebrate all that is great about Mass beer, the Mass Brew Bros along with Mass Brewers Guild, Beer Advocate, and Barrel House Z, will hold a Home Brewers Contest. 

Winner will have their recipe brewed at Barrel House Z for release in the BHZ taproom.

Here’s what you need to know:

• You must be a resident of MA and over 21 

• (1) entry per person

• Your entry can be dropped off at Barrel House Z on February 13 or 14 from 4-9:00 pm

• Style considerations: ABV must be under 8%, no sours or wild fermentation (winning recipe is subject to review before brew day at BHZ)

• Preliminary judging will occurs at BHZ

• Final judging on March 9that BHZ with winner announced that day

• Entry must be bottled and sealed (12 oz to 22oz size—no growlers please)

• With your entry, please include your name, home address, email, phone number, beer style and ABV

Questions?  Contact Dan O’Donnell at dodonnell@barrel.house

Winner Winner Beer Dinner

Five Local Craft Beer Fans Dined with Celebrity Brewers during the Mass Brewer Guild’s Mass Craft Beer Dinner to honor its Beer Trail Conquerors

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. | The conversation and beer flowed as Massachusetts craft beer legends Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer co., Dan Kenary, founder of Harpoon, Will Meyers, brewmaster at CBC, and Rob Burns, co-founder of Night Shift and president of the Mass Brewers Guild, came together with five Beer Trail Conquerors for a special dinner at Cambridge Brewing Co. 

The dinner was hosted by the Mass Brewers Guild, the craft beer industry’s trade association, to celebrate fans who achieved Beer Trail Conqueror status by visiting 100 breweries in one year using the nonprofit’s passport program. The mobile app, “Mass Craft Beer,” celebrated its one year anniversary this past September and currently has 9,800 downloads. 

Seventeen craft beer super fans took on the challenge and conquered the trail. Five names were drawn at random to attend the Mass Craft Beer Dinner.  

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Brian Healy of South Easton, Benjamin Krefetz of Cambridge, Lisa Hodge of Sutton, Michelle Mulligan of Whitman, and Dmitriy Arkannikov of Waltham, all won seats at the table, and in some cases left their spouses, who were also Beer Trail Conquerors, behind. “I was getting the silent treatment as I left tonight,” joked Lisa Hodge, whose husband Geoff was her craft beer traveling partner across the state. “Thankfully he’s out with friends enjoying some craft beer tonight too.” 

Many of the Beer Trail Conquerors had coincidently met before, either striking up a conversation at one of the Mass Brewers Guild’s festivals, or bumping into one another at breweries while chasing each other on the leaderboard.  

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Brian Healy was the first to complete the trail, with Bob Kelley, co-founder of the Mass. Brew Bros., hot on his heels. Both Bob and Brian carry their original Mass Brewers Guild paper passports in their wallets and as new breweries open they see if taprooms can stamp them for old times’ sake. 

The Mass Brewers Guild saw the need to digitize the program so they could keep it updated in real time. The app also reduces paper waste and ensures that craft beer fans will never miss another stamp with the app on their phone.  

“I never would have visited towns like Sheffield or Nahant if it weren’t for the mobile app,” said Dmitriy Arkannikov. “I found so many hidden gems along my travels – amazing restaurants, pie shops, doughnut shops -- it was a great way to explore the state. I am excited to do it again.”  

The original paper passport program only featured 43 breweries when it launched in 2013. Today, Massachusetts has more than 160 breweries, with 30 in-planning slated to open in 2019. 

“It was amazing to meet such dedicated craft beer fans and hear about their passion for the MA beer scene, says Rob Burns, cofounder of Nightshift and president of the Mass Brewers Guild. “We really are spoiled in MA from both a brewery perspective and a consumer one.”

The free app is available in iTunes and Google Play stores and is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Mass. Brew Bros. who assist with data collection, Fat Basset Design who provides badge artwork, and to New England Label for their marketing support. Funds raised through the Mass Brewers Guild’s festivals, Power Beer Fest and the Mass Fermentational, help to cover development updates and maintenance costs. 

Jim Koch Utopias.jpg

The four course beer pairing dinner ended with a blondie drizzled in beeramel, topped with CBC wort ice cream, and paired with a sipper of Samuel Adams Utopias 2017. “If you didn’t drink it, we couldn’t make it – so thank you -- cheers,” said Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company. 

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About the Mass Brewers Guild

Founded in 2007 by a group of committed and passionate brewers, the Mass Brewers Guild, is organized for the purposes of promoting craft brewing and protecting the interests of craft brewers across the Commonwealth. The association is membership based and open to all Massachusetts breweries licensed by the federal Tax and Trade Bureau and the Commonwealth’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. The nonprofit creates a community of brewers while shining light on the broad range of breweries and styles offered throughout state.Through industry and educational events, its mobile application beer trail map, and by providing resources and marketing support to brewers, the nonprofit works to highlight Massachusetts as a top travel destination for craft beer in the U.S. The board also continues its work at the legislative level, fighting for license and franchise law reform, and serving as the voice of craft brewers on Beacon Hill. The Massachusetts Brewers Guild is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit corporation.