In my last post I talked about some of our challenges over the last few months and how we are adapting: The Good, The Bad, the Ugly. This post falls into The Annoying and You Couldn't Have Told Us This a Year Ago categories.
We were informed a couple of weeks ago that we can no longer use our name on any packaging.
"Elixir is a prohibited word on alcohol packaging because it is misleading to the consumer and will lead them to think what they are drinking has nutritional or medicinal value." In short, Elixir implies medication.
Hear that folks, you as a consumer are not smart enough to know that the mead we make has no medicinal value if we include the statement "produced and packaged by Odd Elixir LLC".
We knew Elixir was a tricky word going into it. But we are not in the 1800s and we, evidently, have more faith in the drinkers of our product than the Federal Government does. Our name was approved and we moved forward, built our brand, and started advertising. Then, a couple months ago, we were told that we could only use Elixir in our bottling statement. Fine, no problem, changes made. It was a minor change that required a tweak in our logo used on the bottle. Now, a year after we began our journey into the exciting world of red tape, we are just now being told we can not use Elixir anywhere on our labeling, all of our previously approved labels must be surrendered, and we have to start over. Oh, goody!
BUT, we can still use the name Odd Elixir just not on our packaging. To put that in perspective, that would be like telling McDonald's that they can use McDonald's in all of their advertising but they can put it on their restuarants. They are going to have to call them something else.
After to speaking with a very nice, very apologetic (after all it's not her rule), and very helpful woman at the labeling office we were left with 2 options. 1) We could keep using Odd Elixir and apply for a State of Florida labeling exemption. The catch, we can never sell across state lines. Granted, our expansion into other states is not in our immediate future but it seemed like a terrible idea to lock ourselves out of that possibly. 2) We could apply for a trade name, effectively changing our business name, and start our branding over, you know, after a year of building the brand and countless hours of creating content, artwork, and graphics.
Ultimately we opted for a combination of the two that will make everyone happy, well everyone but me, I was happy with it before!
We recently applied for the trade name Odd X MeadWorks. We will continue to use Odd Elixir (with the addition of the word MeadWorks) in all our advertising except our bottles. We have some changes to the logo and a modified logo for bottling but we can continue to use our artwork and concept. You will start seeing the Odd X logo pop up as we begin to integrate it into our existing brand.
The decision basically boiled down to when was it most appropriate to modify the brand; now, while the brand is young and fewer people were familiar with it or a year or two down the road when more people knew who we were and we were ready to expand. We opted for now; it just made more sense.
The overall look will not change and I could have probably done our change over quietly and only a handful of people would have noticed. However, I constantly have people asking how the red tape is treating us and I always promise to post about it. So here it is.
As an aside, I often talk with an overly sarcastic tone about the Federal and State governments and how stupid and ridiculous many of the laws and regulations are. And they are stupid and ridiculous. But time and time again I have spoken with the people in these offices whose jobs are to enforce these rules and they have in 100% of the cases been as helpful as they possibly can. They know the rules are convoluted. They know how difficult it is to figure out the right way to do something. They know that many of the people they are dealing with are small family owned businesses and having to completely rebrand after an entire year of effort has the potential for disaster. They really are sympathetic. That doesn't mean they don't have to enforce the rules. That is their job, whether they agree with them or not. While I may not agree with many of the rules and regulations we have to follow, I can not express enough how nice and helpful everyone I have spoken to is. They are terribly overworked and understaffed and they don't have to be nice. But they are and for that I am grateful!
Cheers and #bringonthemead