Did BrewDog’s aggressive trademarking leave a bitter taste in your mouth?

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Self-proclaimed “punk” brewers BrewDog have recently threatened legal action against a small, family businesses, it said was infringing its trademarks.

The Lone Wolf, an independent pub run by siblings Joshua and Sallie McFadyen in Birmingham; received a warning from BrewDog’s lawyers instructing them to change their name, as it was the same as BrewDog’s new spirit range.

Yes, you read that right…

The brother and sister duo had registered the name before the spirit’s name was registered! So you’d presume The Lone Wolf pub had a very good case against the Aberdonian brew house? But as is often the situation: they didn’t have the funds to fight the brewer.

Ironically, BrewDog have been on the receiving end of the big boys’ legal teams before:

Elvis Presley’s estate were unimpressed with the brewer’s use of Elvis’ name on one of their beers. BrewDog issued the following statement:

“Here at BrewDog, we don’t take too kindly to petty pen pushers attempting to make a fast buck by discrediting our good name under the guise of copyright infringement.”

Social Media backlash

After news of this broke, there has been a significant social media backlash; with people calling-out BrewDog’s hypocrisy. Many noting this as a classic example of big business appearing to rage against the machine – for obvious marketing reasons – but eventually getting found out as no better than the big beer companies they rail against.

As a result of this bad press, the multinational brewing chain have since backed down. This is no comfort to The Wolf Pub, who have already been forced to re-brand their entire pub, website, social media etc. – All at their own expense.

While it’s true BrewDog had humble beginnings, they have always played on (and definitely profited from) their punk / DIY image. Protecting your brand is one thing; but to throw your corporate weight around, trampling on ‘the little guy‘ is a step too far. Especially if your company’s supposed Punk ethos is very much part of what you are selling.

Image: Independent Birmingham / TripAdvisor

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