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BrewDog withdraws legal threat over pub name

BrewDog has backtracked on its threat to force a Birmingham pub to drop the name Lone Wolf – the moniker of the firm’s vodka brand – claiming its lawyers were “a bit trigger-happy”.

A Birmingham pub faced legal action from Brewdog because it shared the name of its spirits brand Lone Wolf

The Scottish brewer threatened the pub with legal action if it did not change its name, despite claims by the family who own the Birmingham business that they had chosen the name in 2015, prior to BrewDog revealing its vodka brand.

After receiving a cease and desist letter, owners of the pub Joshua and Sallie McFadyen changed its name to The Wolf and paid to adjust the signage and web page.

Members of the public and fellow brewers took to social media in anger at Brewdog’s actions, slamming the independent company for its “corporate attitude”.

In response to the backlash, BrewDog’s co-founder, James Watt, tweeted yesterday morning: “Our lawyers got a bit trigger-happy. We are happy for the Wolf Bar in Birmingham to keep using the name.”

Watt also offered to send the bar free cases of Lone Wolf vodka and gin.

But the owners of the pub tweeted that it was a “shame we had to spend money rebranding because of ‘lawyers'”.

Later, Watt tweeted: “Earlier today we contacted Lone Wolf bar and said we would not only cover all costs, but invited them up to make their own gin with us.”

Earlier today (29 March), BrewDog released a statement on its website:

“We paid for and trademarked Lone Wolf in 2015. The Lone Wolf Bar in Birmingham opened in January of 2017. Our wider team and legal partners, acting entirely in our best interests informed them that we owned the name and they would have to stop using it.

“However, hands up, we made a mistake here in how we acted. Almost all companies always look to enforce trademarks, whereas at BrewDog we should take the view to only enforce if something really detrimental to our business is happening. And here, I do not think that was the case. As soon as I found out, I reversed the decision and offered to cover all of the costs of the bar. I also invited them up to Ellon to make their own gin with us. This is a mistake that hurt a lot; but like all mistakes, it made us better. This will not happen again.

“All companies make mistakes, and we fixed this one quickly, openly and honestly.”

In January, BrewDog hit out at Aberdeenshire Council amid claims the authority is charging more than 60 times fair market value for the land on which the Scottish brewer wants to build a new distillery.

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