Norfolk

Camden v Redwell breweries: 'Hells' lager legal dispute

Patrick Fisher with Redwell Hells Lager Image copyright Redwell Brewery
Image caption Patrick Fisher, of Redwell Brewery, launched their Hells lager in May 2014

A brewery embroiled in a dispute with a rival over its "Hells Lager" brand has turned to its punters to crowdfund its £30,000 legal costs.

Camden Town Brewery has issued High Court papers claiming Norwich-based Redwell Brewery was trying to "pass off" its beer as Camden's.

Although Camden used the name first Redwell says "hells" is a German term for a light lager in common use.

Redwell has so far raised £1,000. Camden did not want to comment.

Redwell's crowd-funding incentives include a branded t-shirt, glass and playing cards for £30, while a donation of £30,000 would get the donor a case of beer a month for life.

The Norwich firm, established in 2012, said it accepted Camden used the brand name first, but that the terms "hells" - or "helles" - dated from the 19th Century and were used by more than 35 brewers in the UK, Germany, USA and elsewhere.

'Business at risk'

Patrick Fisher, co-owner of Redwell, said: "Many, if not all, have been brewing a brand using these words for far longer than Camden, so we feel we have been bullied by them despite us trying so solve this amicably.

"We even changed our original Redwell Hells [pump] badge after they expressed concerns the public might get confused, even though we didn't really think they could.

"The cost of fighting this all the way to a High Court hearing could put our business at risk."

Redwell, which employs nine full-time staff and has an annual turnover of about £600,000, said solicitors from both sides would meet at the High Court before any judge sat to formally hear the case.

Camden Town Brewery, which was set up in 2010, said it was not making any comment.

A dispute between Redwell and Red Bull over alleged similarity of their names was resolved out of court in 2013.

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