Big Bad Bullies

With Crabbies vs Tickety Brew, Red Bull vs Redwell, and now Camden Town vs Weird Beard, the name (hah) of the game seems to be the big guy kicking the little guy, just because they can. Let’s be honest here – nobody is going to mistake one of these things for the other, just because some of the syllables sound similar, or because the name of the beer includes a place name. But some kids think it’s alright for them to bully people for no good reason, and it seems terribly convenient that they only seem to have a go at people who don’t have the money to fight back.

How can you copyright a place name in relation to a beer? It’s petty, and completely unnecessary, but that’s what Camden Town have tried to do, telling Weird Beard that they have to change the name of one of their beers. The beer in question was brewed with help from the staff from BrewDog bar Camden, as part of the Collab fest. Camden BearD (5.5%) is a reasonable name. Nobody’s going to think Camden Town brewed it – Weird Beard‘s branding is unmistakable. But now it’s got to be called K*ntish Town Beard, because apparently if you have enough money and have been fairly successful for a while, it’s fine to lay claim to a place name. A bloody place name! I have also heard on the Twittersphere that they have harrassed Brodie’s over their Camden Town Brown IPA (6%). Time will tell if they approach BrewDog over BD Camden 01 (7.5%), which was brewed with help from the Camden bar staff. In this situation, the reason that ‘Camden’ is in the name is exactly the same as Camden BearD. However, BrewDog have money, so Camden Town probably won’t try it with them.

According to this, you now apparently can’t use the name ‘Camden’ for Ale; real ale; beer; lager; stout; porter; cider (non-alcoholic); ginger beer; malt beer; beer wort; extracts of hops for making beer. Cider; spirits; liqueurs; distilled beverages; gin; whisky; rum; vodka; brandy; pre-mixed alcoholic beverages, other than beer-based. Brewing services; brewing of beer; spirits distillery services; information, consultancy and advisory services relating to the aforesaid.”

What Camden Town are doing is ridiculous and childish, and completely contrary to the open, friendly, collaborative vibe which the craft beer industry generally exudes. All it has achieved is to alienate a large number of people who previously drank their beer, and inconvenience Weird Beard, who are a great brewery and have made some bloody excellent beers this year. The overarching sentiment echoing around Twitter today is “what idiots, I won’t drink Camden Town beer any more”. They’ve shot themselves in the foot by being petty. Nobody likes a bully.

Edit: You can find Weird Beard‘s post on the subject here, where they tell us all the gory details.

2 thoughts on “Big Bad Bullies

  • Feel saddened that a brewery considered ‘one of us not them’ – with ‘them’ being the big beer manufacturers who are all about the brand rather than flavour, and use bully boy tactics – is going down this trademarking of placename route. it’s been pointed out to me that when a company registers a trademark, they have to show they are actively going to defend it to anyone potentially infringing it – even if they don’t think that particular instance is a threat – so although I can’t see how the Weird BearD beer could have been seen as a genuine threat, from customers being “confused” as to it’s origin – the heavy-handed tactics may be more in pursuit of demonstrating they will defend the trademark, as action to back up their recent application. Still doesn’t make it excusable in any way though, IMHO.

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