Help W/ Legal Conditions, Loaning Brewery a Recipe.

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Kickass

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A start up local brewery has approached me about using some of my recipes for their brewery. I'm happy to help but i want to maintain ownership and authority of my recipes.

My biggest concerns are being able to prevent them from using my recipes if i ever decide to open a brewery myself and how to protect the overall intent of a specific recipe.

For example, if one of my recipes becomes a core beer in their lineup and i want to take my recipe with me if i open a brewery, how do i keep them from changing a fraction of a percent of an ingredient/adding something insignificant/omitting something small/etc. and claiming its their recipe?
 

rburrelli

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But if they do change something, no matter how much, it is their recipe and not yours. Why do you feel the need to be so protective of your recipes?
 

z-bob

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I am not a lawyer. Even if I was (which I'm not), I'm not your lawyer.
Recipes cannot be copyrighted. You can probably trademark the name, but they could brew the same thing and call it something else.

Maybe ask them to incorporate your name in the beer name. (Kickass's Koslch, etc) OTOH, if they make changes to it or just generally do a crappy job, you might not want your name on it.

I guess I don't understand what the problem is.
 

seilenos

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If you give them a recipe there is nothing you can do to control what they do with it from that point. To be honest, unless the recipe is written their scale of operation it will probably need to be modified anyway really making it their recipe.

I've personally written several breweries with questions and they've sent me their recipes often without me even asking so I've assumed it is not that big a deal.
 

Rish

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I'm all for helping fellow brewers but if it's about giving my recipes to a possible future competitor, I'd pass. Maybe you could give them advice on the recipes they have if you want to help.🍻
 

madscientist451

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Just asking, what makes you believe that your recipe is all that great? Have you won competitions with it?
 

Beerstein

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You can draft a legal agreement that gives you royalties for each batch or specific amounts brewed. Doesn't have to be much. Like $.01/bbl. In the language you can also specify all derivative works.

Problem is you will need LAYWER$ to enforce this if it goes sideways. Probably not worth it.

Instead maybe think about a simple contract that they are required to put a plaque in their tap house saying the first batch of XXXXX brewed by a recipe created by <your name>.
 

AlexKay

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Not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc., but my understanding is the same as has been already said: recipes are not protected intellectual property, and it will be hard to enforce anything once the recipe is in their hands. The good news is that they probably won’t be able to stop you from using it; the bad that you probably won’t be able to stop them.

But seriously, if you can’t think of it as a gift — they can have the recipes to do with as they like, and you can do the same — I’d advise against doing it at all.
 

bwible

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When I owned my hb store years ago we did a competition where everybody brewed the same recipe using the same ingredients. And you would be surprised how different all the beers were.

A recipe goes beyond just ingredients. Its also as much about equipment and process as it is anything else. 2 people can start with the same ingredients and follow the same recipe and end up with very different beers.

As seilenos said many breweries are homebrewer friendly and will at least guide you if not give you a recipe outright - because they know this.

Recipes also evolve over time. What happens when there is a hop shortage and you can’t get one of your hops? Or a supplier changes brands and you can’t get the exact grain you were using? There is a lot of variability. For a homebrewer not a big deal. When you’re a brewery in business these things matter.
 
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superiorsat

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A start up local brewery has approached me about using some of my recipes for their brewery. I'm happy to help but i want to maintain ownership and authority of my recipes.

My biggest concerns are being able to prevent them from using my recipes if i ever decide to open a brewery myself and how to protect the overall intent of a specific recipe.

For example, if one of my recipes becomes a core beer in their lineup and i want to take my recipe with me if i open a brewery, how do i keep them from changing a fraction of a percent of an ingredient/adding something insignificant/omitting something small/etc. and claiming its their recipe?
Hard pass! Sounds like this brewery may have launched to soon if they are reaching into the homebrew community for recipe help. That said I know a brewery that I can't recommend and a home brewer on their staff said that he gave them a recipe and with the upscale and their process that it wasn't good. He then went on to boast if he opened a brewery he would put them out of business with the quality of his beer over theirs.
 

bobeer

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I'm going through the same thing... was asked to brew the beer for a brew pub that's being renovated now. I've been brewing for over 10 years and have a lot of recipes I have come up myself that are awesome so I'm using these as a base for the beers I'm developing for the brew pub. This does take time because you have to change 1 thing then brew the beer again so you can see where it's at with the 1 change then you go from there. I'd rather give them recipes that are "theirs" so when/if the time comes for me to walk away I can do so without issue or a conflict of interest.
in the end though I'm not really worried about where the recipe came from or who "owns" it because it's a good opportunity for me to do something I love and it's a great way to share my beer with other people. I think the trade off works but it's my own choice to decide if it's fair or not. Seeing how there are many ways to make the same style of beer I'd think making a new recipe for you or for them wouldn't be a major issue. Good luck though!
 

mashpaddled

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You can't own a list of ingredients and a basic process, especially when the brewery will necessarily have to modify it to fit their system. You can't stop a business from using the recipe or derivative versions once you give it to them. Your options are either give the recipes away freely or ask them to compensate you for them.
 
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Kickass

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Thank you to all the TV actor lawyers for your logical advice. For the first go, I’m going to get a filled corny keg, some recognition and the fun of brewing on a 20bbl system. Thanks for the candid advice HBTer’s
 
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