December 6 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Support is pouring in for Norwich-based brewery Redwell Brewing which is facing a battle against international drinks brand Red Bull over its name.
Red Bull, from its headquarters in Austria, has written to Redwell Brewing, based at The Arches in Bracondale, near County Hall, requesting it to immediately withdraw its trademark application, because it claims the names are too similar and would confuse consumers.
Since the story broke, a huge amount of people have voiced their support for Redwell on Twitter, and the Norwich Brewery said it was “absolutely overwhelmed” by all the support.
@Redwellbeer tweeted: “We’re Absolutely overwhelmed with all your support this morning, we won’t stand down to the giant bullies & we will fight all the way!...”
Among Redwell’s supporters is comedy writer Graham Linehan (@Glinner) who tweeted to his 300,000 followers: “My friends at @Redwellbeer in Norwich are being threatened w legal action because @redbull think they own the word ‘red’ and the letters LL”
WEST Brewery (@Westbeer) tweeted they had faced a similar battle with Red Bull.
“Just heard about @Redwellbeer ‘s trouble with “the Austrians”... Please get in touch if you want help. Our MUNICH RED got similar feedback!”
Meanwile New York Canaries (@NYCanaries) tweeted: “I’m going to boycott Red Bull and you should consider doing the same,” and Michael Ironside (@m_ironside) tweeted: “Seems like @RedBullUK dont realise how stupid their objection to @Redwellbeer could be. Already seeing backlash from stockists.”
Archie (@StockbridgeTap) tweeted: “We don’t stock Red Bull and never will. I now want to get @Redwellbeer in stock,” and The Jubilee Norwich (@jubilee_the) said: “@Redwellbeer I’ve never mistakenly opened a can of Red Bull when asked for a pint of Redwell or vice versa... Good Luck !”
Writer and broadcaster Melissa Cole (@MelissaCole), who was named one of the Most Powerful Women in the Drinks Industry by Channel4 Food, said: “Utterly disgusted with @RedBullUK legal threats against @Redwellbeer a small Norwich brewery. You petty, petty bullies.”
In another tweet, she said: “Any outlets that stock @RedBullUK I ask you to boycott it due to the company’s bully boy tactics against @Redwellbeer”
In the letter sent to Redwell, Red Bull’s brand enforcement manager, Hansjorg Jeserznik, says Redwell’s application “comprises Red Bull’s earlier trademark ‘red’ as a whole, which is a prima facie for the similarity of signs.”
“Moreover, all trademarks consist solely of English words and contain the common element ‘red’. The term ‘well’ is merely descriptive and therefore of no distinctive character at all.
“Furthermore the term ‘bull’ and the term ‘well’ share the same ending and just differ in two letters.
“The ending ‘ll’ is identical and therefore the terms Red Bull and Redwell are confusingly similar from a visual as well from a phonetical point of view.”
The letter adds that if Redwell fails to comply with its request, it reserved its right to initiate legal steps including the right to file an opposition against Redwell’s trademark.
Redwell Brewing, which started in October last year, is run by directors Patrick Fisher, Benjamin Thompson, Michael Baxter and Amy Hancock.
Mr Fisher said his first reaction to the Red Bull letter was shock, and his second was to contact his solicitors to find out where it stood.
He added: “It seems like an over-the-top reaction.
“As a small, innovative brewery, it’s quite worrying to have this thing hanging over our heads, when we are looking to move the business forward.”
Fellow director Mr Thompson said they had chosen to call their company Redwell Brewing after Norwich’s Redwell Street.
Redwell supplies craft beer to pubs in Norwich and London and is expanding to sell across the country to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester.
It produces 3000 litres of beer weekly, has been selling beer for about five months, and employs eight people. It claims to be the first brewery to brew lager in the city for more than 30 years.
As of the end of 2012, Red Bull employed 8,966 people in 165 countries and sold to 159 countries.
Redwell has replied to Red Bull’s request and is trying to find a reasonable solution, without giving up its name, Mr Thompson added.
A spokesman for Red Bull, which was first launched in Austria in 1987, and is still based in that country, said that it did not comment on pending cases.