Joshua and Sallie McFadyen, owners of the Lone Wolf, now called the Wolf, Constitution Hill, in Snow Hill, said they were told to change their pub’s name or face a legal battle because it shared the name of BrewDog’s spirits brand, Lone Wolf.
Sallie McFadyen told The Morning Advertiser (MA): “We used to run managed pubs in London – when we decided to move back to the Midlands to open our own place we wanted a name that represented our independence. It was the way [BrewDog] went about it. They had some issues with their own company and people having issues with names."
“They didn’t like it very much so, yeah, it a was a shock for this to come from BrewDog. They advertise themselves as being pro-independents.
“It would have been nicer if they had got in touch with us personally and said they would help us out with changing the signage and everything.
The McFaydens only opened the Lone Wolf this January, but registered the company as Lone Wolf Pubs on 31 July 2015 while looking for properties.
BrewDog incorporated Lone Wolf Spirits on 6 May 2016, according to Companies House.
Social media anger
Members of the public and fellow brewers took to social media in anger at BrewDog’s actions, slamming the company for behaviour they saw as a betrayal of its ‘punk’ ethos.
BrewDog fought a legal battle with the estate of Elvis Presley after they named an IPA ‘Elvis Juice’, with BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie mocking the challenge by changing both their names to Elvis by deed poll.
It was also told last year it may face legal action over Lone Wolf’s branding from football club Wolverhampton Wonders.
Angered commentators were quick to point out the contrast between BrewDog’s previous stance and how it had behaved to the McFaydens’ business, with some saying they would now avoid the brewer's products.
McFadyen said: “The feedback [from the community] has been great. Everyone has been amazing. All we did to start with was put a tweet out saying we had to change our name because of a big brewer but we still sell awesome beers.”
At the time of going to press, BrewDog declined to comment however, co-founder James Watt has since tweeted a response.
He said: "Our lawyers got a bit trigger happy. We are happy for the Lone Wolf Bar in Birmingham to keep using the name.
"And we will send them a few free cases of our upcoming Lone Wolf Gin and Lone Wolf Vodka to boot."