Bad Dog

28 March 2017 | Billy Thompson

BrewDog has made headlines once again this week, but this time not so positive.

The Scottish craft beer company, that is known for its creative PR campaigns (check out my blog about one of them) and “punk” ethos has been under fire, after it forced a family-run pub to change its name or face legal action.

Not so punk, BrewDog.

The Birmingham based family-run pub, Lone Wolf, coincidently had the same name as BrewDog’s latest line of vodka.

The owners of the pub, Joshua and Sallie McFadyen, received an email from BrewDog’s solicitors telling them they needed to change the name or face legal action. Being scared of a potential law suit, the Lone Wolf pub was changed to the Wolf.

As a result of this, BrewDog received some serious slating on social media. I saw one tweet in particular that summed up the situation quite well; “This is a simple demonstration that BrewDog are just another multinational corporate machine. Not independent ‘punk’ movement”.

I mean, if BrewDog was so ‘punk’ it wouldn’t be chasing independent businesses causing no harm or competition, and threatening them with a legal battle.

Not cool, BrewDog, not cool.

The craft beer company has tried to resolve the situation, though. James Watt, the company’s owner, explained on Twitter that its lawyers “got a bit trigger happy” and that BrewDog is “happy for the Lone Wolf Bar in Birmingham to keep using the name”.

He also went on to say how they’d contacted Lone Wolf bar and told them they’d “cover all costs” and invited them to make their own gin with BrewDog.

Although it was a nice move, I’m not convinced. Would the offer have still stood if this story didn’t gain so much coverage? I highly doubt it. But still, it is some decent PR firefighting.

On the bright side though, lots of people are supporting The Wolf Pub. Despite the circumstances, I’m sure the pub will have a lot of new customers walking through its doors very soon.

So, all’s well that ends well and it’s turned into a good bit of PR for The (Lone) Wolf.