Norwich brewery set to keep its name as Red Bull legal bid loses its fizz

Redwell Brewery, Norwich that has received correspondence from Red Bull requesting that they change

Redwell Brewery, Norwich that has received correspondence from Red Bull requesting that they change their name. Pictured left to right directors Amy Hancock, Patrick Fisher, Benjamin Thompson and Michael Baxter. Photo: Steve Adams

It is known as the drink that gives you wings - but Red Bull's legal battle against a Norwich brewery appeared to fall flat yesterday in the wake of a massive PR backlash against the firm.

Lawyers from the energy firm fired a shot across the bow against Redwell calling on the brewer to withdraw its trademark application for its brand, which takes its name from Redwell Street in the city, arguing the names are too similar and customers would be confused.

The news sparked a deluge of messages of support on Twitter from across the world urging them not to bow down to Red Bull's demands.

And yesterday afternoon the lawyer representing Redwell confirmed that the Austrian conglomerate had made an offer to the firm stating it was happy for it to keep its mark 'so long as they do not use it for energy drinks'.

Jackie Tolson, trademark attorney at IP21 in Norwich, which is representing Redwell, said she was hopeful of both sides reaching an amicable settlement.

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'We just need to get the 'T's crossed and the 'I's dotted, but there is a realistic settlement on the table and Red Bull seem to be happy with it,' she said. 'When Redwell came to me I didn't think of Red Bull and I have defended many clients against Red Bull - it isn't unusual for them to throw their weight around.

'That's quite often an opening gambit, but I was optimistic that we could reach a commercial agreement the them so that Red Bull's concerns are addressed but at the same time Redwell are able to trade in the way they want to. It's about reaching an agreement so that both parties are happy.'

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Michael Baxter, one of the Redwell directors said the company had been overwhelmed by the support it had received.

'It's gone world-wide viral - we are getting tweets from everywhere,' he said. 'For the past few months we've had this hanging over our heads. We couldn't afford to fight them.

'But the response we've had has been fantastic. The phone hasn't stopped ringing and we've been astounded by the support we have had.'

A Red Bull spokesman said: 'There is no dispute here. Red Bull has long been willing to allow Redwell to maintain its mark for beer so long as they do not use it for energy drinks. Redwell's solicitor has agreed to this.'

Meanwhile the dispute has bemused customers at the Norwich Tap House, in Redwell Street, where the beer is sold.

Keith Loney, 58, who works in IT and lives off Earlham Road in Norwich, said: 'It's ludicrous, the whole concept of a big international company objecting to the use of a normal word, especially when it refers to a place name.

'There's no way you could mistake a caffeine-laced energy drink for a good craft beer.'

Gemma Russell, 31, a marketing manager who lives in Dereham, said: 'Unless Red Bull are planning to start selling beer it seems a bit silly to me. It just sounds bizarre, especially because Red Bull is a world wide brand and everyone knows what Red Bull is.'

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