Aug. 20 - Small British craft brewery Redwell Brewing is looking forward to a bright future after settling a legal dispute with the makers of the energy drink Red Bull. The Austrian firm had told Redwell their name was too similar. The brewery received messages of support from around the world, and as Joanna Partridge reports, they believe the publicity surrounding the spat may have a silver lining as they look to expand the brand.
Small British firm Redwell Brewing were looking to make a name for themselves. But owners Patrick Fisher and Amy Hancock got more than they bargained for when they tried to trademark their brand. Despite only employing 6 other people and selling 5,000 pints of beer a week, energy drink makers Red Bull threatened legal action if they didn't change their name. Redwell, it seemed, was too close to Red Bull. SOUNDBITE: Patrick Fisher, Owner of Redwell Brewing, saying (English): "Kind of mind-blowing when it came through, obviously with Red Bull being such a huge company and the financial muscle they've got behind them. Telling us that they own the word red and the similarities with two l's at the end of the name. It was a very scary moment and it did put a dark cloud over the whole project." The company is named after this street in Norwich city centre, where the owners held discussions about what to call their brand. They settled on Redwell to reflect the local ingredients used to make their lagers and ales. They only started brewing in Norwich in eastern England in April. Redwell enlisted local graphic design students to create their logo and branding - and didn't want to give it up. When their legal dispute was publicised, the firm received messages of support. SOUNDBITE: Amy Hancock, Owner of Redwell Brewing, saying (English): "People from all over the world have been calling the brewery, we've been interacting with tens and thousands of people on Twitter and Facebook." They say the public backing helped them to reach an agreement with Red Bull. Red Bull said in a statement "... we have no issue with Redwell maintaining its trademark for beer. What we have asked is that they do not use it for energy drinks, which we feel is a reasonable request - Redwell has agreed to this and therefore there is no longer any issue. They will continue to sell great beer under the name Redwell." SOUNDBITE: Patrick Fisher, Owner of Redwell Brewing, saying (English): "There's no plans for energy drinks, Formula One teams, or sending men jumping from space or anything like that. We can continue to use our name and we can continue to grow our brand and have t-shirts if we want to and have points of sale, all these things that they weren't going to allow us to do originally." Now Redwell's legal troubles are over, they've realised they may have a silver lining. They've been contacted by potential buyers from as far away as Australia and Mexico, and hope in time to take their beer from a street in Norwich to the rest of the world.