Trouble brewing as Norwich beer maker Redwell clashes with London brewer over the name of a lager

Redwell Brewery's Hells craft lager.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Redwell Brewery's Hells craft lager.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

An almighty row is brewing between two companies over the name of a lager.

Redwell Brewery, based in Trowse, said it was told by Camden Brewery to stop making its Hells Craft Lager, which accused Redwell of attempting to trade on the success of its own beer with the same name.

It comes a year after Redwell locked horns with Austrian drinks firm Red Bull, which told the brewery to change its name, saying Redwell and Red Bull were 'confusingly similar'.

Camden Brewery has been making Hells Lager since 2010, and posted a statement on its website.

It said: 'It has recently come to our attention that another UK brewery has started using the name Hells Craft Lager, in a graphic style similar to ours for one of their beers.'


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Although Redwell was not named in the statement, it was clearly referring to the city brewer, which has hit back in an open letter, saying: 'Camden Town brewery have given us seven days to stop making Hells Lager.

'For us, we feel that Camden Town brewery are taking a large brewery's bully boy tactics and applying them against us. Hells, for any German, is a generic description for light lager as is the term helles and hell along with many others.'

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Redwell owner Patrick Fisher said: 'Our solicitors are talking and we had an agreement to try to work things out and find a way forward.

'Camden didn't like it and put this on their website, we just wanted to put our story across and thank everyone for their support.'

Hells Craft Lager is not trademarked by either brewery, although Camden is in the process of applying for protection.

Its statement said: 'When we first started out we didn't have the cash to trademark our brands, so we chose to grow our brands before proclaiming that we own them.

'This week we found out that this other brewery filed two applications to trademark the name Hells on August 27, which we have been trading under for four years.

'We believe that this is a deliberate attempt to trade on the success and reputation of our beer.'

Barrister Tom Bailey of Steele's law firm said the situation was uncommon.

He said: 'It is unusual for two businesses to do battle publicly regarding an intellectual property dispute.

'Camden appear to be demanding that Redwell cease use of the Hells Lager brand.

'Redwell has stated publicly that they will not do so – if agreement is not reached it is likely that complex legal proceedings will follow.'

Accusing Camden of employing 'dirty tactics', Redwell has now issued it with a public challenge. Redwell proposes a taste test, where the loser has to drop the Hells name.

Camden Brewery declined to comment.

Do you think Redwell should change the name of its lager? Email polly.grice@archant.co.uk

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