Going green means eating local, and this brand of cereal has its eye on the future. Branchannel Cereal, a family-owned brand known for its health benefits and rectangular shape that helps it float in milk, is produced by WeetSoy Farms, in Mukwonago, “Where You Wanna Go,” Wisconsin. WeetSoy is a “micro-farm” that consists of 1-1/2 acres of land, and is owned by Harris MacMillan and his wife Tallulah Bell MacMillan.
Currently, WeetSoy Farms produces 12 to 13 boxes of Branchannel a year, “about one a month” according to Harris MacMillan, and retails at the local GitnZip supermarket for $19. The MacMillans and WeetSoy Farms hope that Branchannel Cereal, which contains 188 percent more fiber than leading brands, will gain traction with the foodie movement where ordinary people are educating themselves about food and making purchasing decisions based not only on price points, but also on how their food is grown or raised, and brought to market. “If our brand strategy works,” says Harris MacMillan, “we’ll be able to expand to three or even four acres by 2014.”
However, this organic brand cultivated in the bucolic backdrop just off of Route 43 – the town’s lifeline to Milwaukee – finds itself in a contentious trademark dispute with an entity readers of this publication know quite well: brandchannel.[more]
“It’s not like we’re greedy people here at brandchannel,” said the publication’s editor, Jim Thompson. “We just want our fair share of the profits. According to our internal calculations, that amounts to $315,087 over the next three years. If the MacMillans can’t meet that number then, well, I guess we’d just have to settle for their house.”
“You can tell Jim Thompson he can settle for this,” said Harris MacMillan, making an obscene gesture with his right hand. “If the folks at brandchannel can’t tell the difference between a word with a ‘d,’ and a word without one, then heaven help all of them.”
In a follow-up interview, Jim Thompson declined to comment, and instead steered the press to brandchannel’s team of lawyers, who issued this formal statement: “The outcome of this case is contingent on what the definition of ‘d’ is. Furthermore, the concept of a ‘brand’ clearly was part of the human collective consciousness before the term ‘bran’ gained public acceptance. Based on that fact alone, the cereal ‘branchannel’ certainly and unfairly benefits from any association with the long-established term found in the name ‘brandchannel.’”
The MacMillans and WeetSoy Farms plan to fight the case to the end. In the meantime, however, the couple – who have been married for 29 years – is conducting business as usual, and hopes to win over public support, and pocketbooks, with their natural and healthy cereal.
“We don’t use any chemicals or pesticides – we’re 100 percent organic,” explained Tallulah Bell MacMillan. “Harris developed a fertilizer cocktail that uses only the three most pungent, natural manures within 100 miles – horse, coyote, and field mouse. Combine that with our burning tire scarecrow and you’ve got yourself a bird and bug free farm.”