Growler Beers, Grunting Growler go head-to-head in beer wars

Growler Beers has stores in Morningside and Leith.
Growler Beers has stores in Morningside and Leith.
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BEER wars have broken out after two Scots craft brewery firms accused each other of trying to cash in on their rival’s business.

Stuart Dinning, who runs craft beer takeaway stores in Edinburgh called Growler Beers UK, said rival firm Grunting Growler was trying to dupe potential customers of his in a naming row.

It came after Jehad Hatu, 27, launched a bid to trademark the name “Grunting Growler” for exclusive use by his Glasgow-based company.

Mr Dinning claimed the name was too similar to his own and would damage his business as clients would mistake the two.

The company names are taken from the container that patrons’ favourite beers are poured into from the taps – a growler is a reusable jug that can be brought back and refilled with a different beer in the future.

The naming rights row came to a head at a legal hearing held by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), who rule on trademark disputes.

Hearing officer George Salthouse ruled that Grunting Growler could be registered as a trademark as customers were unlikely to confuse the two brands.

He said: “The word elements of the opponent’s mark are not inherently distinctive.

“The opponent cannot benefit from enhanced distinctiveness as the opponent has not shown that it has a significant reputation in the UK.

“Overall the marks have a low degree of similarity based solely around the word ‘growler’. Otherwise the marks are not similar.

“In view of the above and even allowing for the concept of imperfect recollection, there is no likelihood of consumers being confused into believing that the goods and services provided by the applicant are those of the opponent or provided by some undertaking linked to them.”

Mr Dinning told the legal hearing that he formed his business in 2013 and started trading at this time. He said the business had generated around £160,000 in sales.

His shop in Morningside allows ale lovers to buy top brands poured from a cask or barrel into sealed one, two or three-litre bottles.

The US trend has proved such a hit that he opened a second shop in Leith after raising more than £100,000 via crowdfunding.

Mr Hatu, who opened his first Grunting Growler store last year, told the IPO that the term “Growler” is in common use in the beer industry as it refers to the container into which beer is poured.

He also claimed the business was launched on Facebook in March, 2013, four months before Growler Beers opened.

Following the ruling, Growler Beers UK was ordered to pay Grunting Growler £1700 in legal costs.