Brewery renames Bomber IPA after trademark dispute

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Trademark: the word ‘Bomber’ in relation to beer has been owned by Marston’s since September 2016
Trademark: the word ‘Bomber’ in relation to beer has been owned by Marston’s since September 2016
Scottish brewery Tempest Brewing Co has renamed its popular Bomber IPA beer after a trademark dispute with an unnamed "regional English brewery". 

The brewery has also confirmed it will no longer sell any of its beers in 660ml ‘bomber’ bottles after its glass manufacturer ceased production of the product.

Tempest Brewing Co declined to name the English brewery in question when contacted by The Morning Advertiser​.

However, the trademark for the word ‘Bomber’ in relation to beer has been owned by Marston’s since September 2016, according to the Intellectual Property Office. The brewery also makes the Lancaster Bomber beer for Thwaites brewery.

Posting an update on its website, Tempest said: “We’re sorry to say that we’ll be discontinuing our bomber bottle beers. This isn’t a production update that we’re happy to be writing, but in the interest of transparency we want to keep everyone in the loop and explain what’s been going on here at Tempest HQ.”

‘Complex and expensive’ legal battle 

The statement continued: “For the last few months, we’ve been working our way through some legal issues that arose as a result of our popular Bomber IPA. Back at the start of the year, we received a letter notifying us that Bomber IPA was in breach of a trademark held by a large, regional English brewery, and that we were to stop using the name.

“We will not bore you with the details of the case, other than to say that, in the end, we chose not to fight against the trademark case, and instead retire or rename Bomber. As a small brewery, we did not have the time or the funds to go through a potentially complex and expensive legal battle.”

Having decided to rename the beer “Big Boy IPA” the brewery discovered that the only manufacturer of 660ml Vichy bomber bottles had ceased production of the product after another larger, regional brewery stopping using them.

“It wasn’t in the manufacturer’s commercial interested to continue making them. Our demand is fairly low and the production quantity required enormous,” Tempest added.

Retired format

The brewery has, therefore, decided to retire the 660ml format, including its Pale Armadillo, Long White Cloud and Modern Helles beers.

It added that Bomber IPA would now be released in new packaging and under the name of Soma IPA. 

When contacted by The Morning Advertiser​, Marston’s confirmed that it owned the trademark in relation to ‘Bomber’.

Earlier this year, Marble brewery was reported to trading standards​ over the sale of its Pint beer being sold in 500ml cans.

The Manchester brewery said it hoped the authorities would not pursue the “silly” complaint.

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