Why we are changing our name

Way back in August we decided we wanted to open a distillery here in Bourbon County.  By October we had come up with a business plan, a lot of ideas - and a name.  We would call it Bourbon County Distillery.  Super creative, right?  (We did lots of research first to make sure no one else had that name.  They didn’t.) So we registered a website domain, started a facebook page and a twitter account, began designing logos, making plans and so on and so forth.  (Excitement, celebration!)  After teaming up with some great people as business partners (more excitement, more celebration!) we began viewing properties and started the process of getting approval from planning & zoning.  Seeing as how we’ll be the first distillery in Bourbon County since prohibition this took quite a few phone calls and one very official meeting where our toddler crawled under the table and repeatedly knocked the microphones over.  Seriously, best meeting ever.  We are so professional.  When the letter of approval was in our hands (lots of excitement, lots of celebration!) we made an offer on some property.  And waited.  And waited.  Once it was accepted, we applied to the Secretary of State for our business license (so much more excitement, so much more celebration!)  But then...  Wait a second...  Startling discovery...  Someone else had JUST applied for a business license with that name.  With “our” name...  How, you ask?  Well, even though we were using that name in numerous ways - and had been for months - it was still legally up for grabs.  And they grabbed it.  Not only did they grab “our” name, they also grabbed approval from planning & zoning to have a distillery in downtown Paris too.  (Now we’ve always heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but this may be overstepping it.)  After making a lot of sad faces and going through the various stages of grief, we decided to get practical.  So we tried to figure out who “they” might be.  It’s a small town - it didn’t take long.  We requested a phone call to discuss this matter hoping it could be resolved amicably and they kindly consented.  But in just one polite conversation it was established that: 

  1. This person felt they had the rights to the name because they’d been “planning on using it” for a long time.  (Oddly though, they just hadn’t gotten around to licensing the business until AFTER we announced our intentions.  They also hadn’t gotten around to getting planning & zoning approval until AFTER we did.)
  2. They were not willing to politely give up the name just because we’d already been using it for a few months.  (We tried to point out that everyone already knew that name as “ours” and it would only create confusion if we stopped using it and then they started using it.  No dice.)
  3. The name was not for sale.
  4. If we did not cease to use this name, it would end up in litigation.

So... not quite the way we were hoping that conversation would go...  But what to do?  Now we could try to fight this - we do have a good case after all.  We could hire a lawyer and take this to court.  But that just doesn’t sound like a lot of fun and frankly, we’re here to make liquor, not trouble.  So after much debate we decided to politely step aside like the gentlemen that we are and let them keep that name.  While it’s disappointing that “our” name has seemingly been poached, it’s *completely possible* that this has all been a very odd, very unusual coincidence.  At least that’s what we hope it is, even if appearances suggest otherwise... 

So prepare yourselves!  Awesome new name coming soon!  We actually already know what it is, we just don’t want to announce it until we’ve filed all the paperwork to avoid any other “unusual coincidences” like the one that just occurred. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.) But rest assured, this little incident won't slow us down at all.  Supplies are already arriving and we'll be closing on the building very soon.  Things are looking good!

Andrew Buchanan