Mar 29, 2017

BrewDog's Bark Is Worse Than Its Bite

BrewDog, the brewery and pub chain, has came under scrutiny this week after taking legal action against a small family run pub. Now it appears the beer company is back pedalling in the face of negative publicity and it has blamed its 'trigger -happy' lawyers for the legal action.

BrewDog has always put itself across as the underdog in the brewing world and an alternative beer company to the large corporate company's offering industrially brewed ales and lagers. This week however the company has been scrutinised for behaving "just like another multinational corporate machine".

It all started when the lawyers at BrewDog heard that a new family run pub in Birmingham was planning on opening its doors under the name 'Lone Wolf'. BrewDog have previously named one of their spirits as 'Lone Wolf' and have a trade mark for this phrase. The lawyers for BrewDog subsequently wrote to the pub owners to warn them that they couldn't use the name 'Lone Wolf' for their new pub.

It wasn't long before news agencies got hold of this information and published their reports. Needless to say, this disgruntled a lot of people and instigated a torrent of abuse towards BrewDog, who are often at the forefront of criticising corporate brewing firms themselves.

BrewDog seemed to back down this week after tweeting that they were happy for the Lone Wolf Bar in Birmingham to keep their name and blaming their lawyers for being "trigger-happy" in threatening the family run pub. They also stated about their lawyers that, "although they are mostly sensible folks, they can sometimes go a bit crazy and forget the kind of business that we are and how we behave. We are sorry for their actions and we have put them on washing up duty for a week". The owners of the Lone Wolf pub, who have now subsequently changed their name to The Wolf tweeted in response, "Shame we had to spend money rebranding because of 'Lawyers'".

Despite BrewDogs apology to The Wolf it appears that people are still not happy with the situation. Some have taken to Twitter to suggest that BrewDog should reimburse The Wolf for the costs involved in rebranding from The Lone Wolf to The Wolf and others have proposed that BrewDog needs to keep its legal department "in check".

Public perception of a brand is the most important element of any brand. This situation demonstrates that whilst it is important to be proactive in protecting your brand you should always consider the publicity implications of any action, however strong your case may be in law.

BrewDog once stated "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". This was said in regards to their trade mark dispute against the estate of Elvis Presley which we commented upon here. It seems BrewDog will now be eating their words from the dog house!

Posted by: in: News, Trade Marks

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