The battle between InBev and workers at its Boddingtons plant in Manchester may head to the European courts. The dispute centres around plans by InBev to close the Manchester brewery and move production of the beer outside the city.

Interbrew is planning to keep its cask ale production in Manchester after the closure - moving it to Hyde's Brewery in Moss Side - but the main production work will move to Lancashire, Scotland and Wales.

Workers are now looking at whether they can apply for brand protection for Boddingtons with the EU, in much the same way as Champagne is protected as a product of designated origin.

Workers hope that they can use the 'Cream of Manchester' and the 'bees of industry of Manchester' taglines to link Boddingtons to the city and make brewing transfer difficult.

Franny Joyce, a Transport and General Workers Union regional industrial organiser, said: "It certainly seems like a good idea to pursue."

The union expects Manchester City Council will support the efforts.