Craft brewer BrewDog has withdrawn threatened legal action against a Birmingham pub which has the same name as its new spirit company - but its apology hasn't necessarily been accepted.
Joshua and Sallie McFadyen, a brother and sister duo who operate a pub called 'Lone Wolf,' received an email claiming that legal action would be taken against the establishment if it did not change its name as BrewDog is launching a spirit company with the same name.
"We had an email one day from their solicitors – and that was the first we knew of it – saying they had a trademarked spirit coming out. All our money has gone into refurbishing this place and getting it open and we don’t have the same money as they have. We were told we might have to incur their legal costs so we were panic-stricken," Sallie McFadyen told The Guardian.
They decided to (begrudgingly) rebrand as just 'The Wolf.'
We are no longer LONE WOLF! After a nice solicitors letter from a big brewery we are now THE WOLF! We still sell awesome beers! #independent
— The Wolf Birmingham (@TheWolfBham) March 1, 2017
BrewDog is one of the world's fastest-growing craft brewing companies. It claims to ascribe to 'punk' values and markets itself as an alternative to corporate beer companies.
"We’ve come round to it now but it is a bit hypocritical because they make a lot of public statements saying how much they support independence and they don’t like a big corporate attitude. It seems to go against what they stand for and it was done in such a harsh way," Ms McFadyen continued.
These heavy-handed tactics sparked a social media backlash against the company.
— James Walker (@JimmyWalker390) March 1, 2017
— Backyard Brewhouse (@backyardbeer) March 1, 2017
— Ellie (@Ellie717774) March 4, 2017
While the initial Guardian report said that BrewDog had declined to comment on the story - it has since announced that it will be dropping the name-change request.
James Watt, BrewDog co-founder issued this statement to Newstalk: "It appears our lawyers did what lawyers do and got a bit carried away with themselves, asking the owners of the new ‘Lone Wolf’ bar to change its name, as we own the trademark. Now we’re aware of the issue, we’ve set the lawyers straight and asked them to sit on the naughty step to think about what they’ve done."
"Of course, we’re more than happy for the Lone Wolf bar to use the name. To make up for the confusion, we’ll be sending them a case of LoneWolf vodka and LoneWolf gin before we launch officially. We’ll even give them a year’s supply of gin and vodka at 50 per cent discount to show we mean well," he continued.
Mr Watt added that the legal team is sorry for their actions and that they have been put on "washing up duty for a week."
— The Wolf Birmingham (@TheWolfBham) March 27, 2017
Despite the light-hearted tone - it seems that BrewDog's apology and offer of discounted booze has not amused the pub formerly know as Lone Wolf.
It 'quote tweeted' Mr Watt when he clarified that the legal threat would be withdrawn highlighting the fact that it had already lost money investing in rebranding since receiving the email.
Last year BrewDog received a legal threat from the estate of Elvis Presley when it released a beer called Elvis Juice.
On that occasion, it said, "Here at BrewDog, we don’t take too kindly to petty pen pushers attempting to make a fast buck by discrediting our good name under the guise of copyright infringement."