Red Bull has asked Redwell to change its name

Red Bull has asked Redwell to change its name

A UK craft brewer warned by Red Bull to withdraw its trademark application has said changing its name would be “disastrous” for the fledgling company.

Redwell Brewing director Ben Thompson also said that Red Bull's claims the brewer's name is too similar was “a complete surprise” as the company was named after a street in Norwich. “We didn't even consider that it would be a problem for the brand,” Thompson told just-drinks today (14 August).

He added: “Changing our name at this juncture would be disastrous for us. We haven’t got the time, the money or the flexibility to do so. We've worked really hard on our brand and we can't afford to change it so we're just going to have to keep trying as hard as possible to make sure we can operate the way that we want to.”

Thompson said the matter is in the hands of Redwell's solicitors but added that the two companies can operate independently with no name change. "Hopefully, (Red Bull) can realise that and leave us alone.”

Thompson and three other directors launched Redwell in Norwich in April and the brewer, which makes three lagers and two ales, already shifts 2,000 litres a week, with customers in Norfolk, London, Scotland and Manchester. The four directors came up with the name while on Norwich's Redwell Street. 

Red Bull sent a legal letter to the directors at the beginning of June asking them to change their company's name.

Redwell has today received messages of support from users of Twitter, who have adopted the hashtag 'Redbullies' to highlight the brewer's story. 

Nobody from Red Bull was immediately available for comment. 

It's not the first time a UK brewer has been told to change its name over fears it was too similar to a large drinks brand. In May, Anheuser-Busch InBev wrote a cease-and-desist letter to Belleville over concerns the microbrewer's brands would be confused with its Belgian fruit-flavoured beer Belle-Vue.

The London brewer eventually reached an agreement with A-B InBev allowing it to use the Belleville name to sell and market its beers.