It’s been another less than stellar week for BrewDog, the “punk” brewer that seems to place more emphasis on the “gobby” aspect of punk.
The controversial Scottish brewer has lost out in a legal battle with The Shropshire Gin Company over trademarks.
The Shropshire Gin Company makes Tiger Gin and Tiger Vodka and was less than gruntled when BrewDog applied to register the trademark “Tiger Strike” for a range of spirits, including gin and vodka.
The UK Intellectual Property Office ruled against BrewDog so it will be obliged to think of an alternative name to Tiger Strike; the name Employees Strike is possibly still available.
The setback follows yesterday’s news that the Scottish brewer, which has a fanatical following, announced a pre-tax loss of GBP13.1mln for 2020 on revenues that were up 10% year-on-year at GBP238mln.
The brewer succeeded in getting its heavily-hyped brands into more retail outlets but profits suffered as bar sales slumped during the pandemic.
Co-founder James Watt described 2020 as “without a doubt the toughest year in our 13-year history”.
The same could be said for its employees, some of whom have formed a protest group called “Punks with Purpose” to protest at what they see as a toxic culture at the company.
Sixty-one former employees and dozens of existing staff members published an open letter on Twitter last month that said “the true culture of BrewDog is, and seemingly always has been, fear”.
“In the wake of your success are people left burnt out, afraid and miserable,” the authors of the letter said.
The company responding to the campaign by promising to “listen, learn and act”.
Smaller investors have pumped GBP80mln into BrewDog, according to the Financial Times, and as well as receiving shares they have received discounts on BrewDog products.
Private equity firm TSG is said to have a 22% stake and would likely sell some or all of its shares in the event of a stock market flotation.