Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Brewery That Cried Hells

























On the 8th of September, to very little fuss, Camden Town Brewery published a piece on their website titled The Home of Hells. It brought to light two things, how important their brand Hells Lager is to them as a company and that how another company, who were not named in the statement, has very recently given their own lager the name Hells. It goes on to tell of how Camden had attempted to contact the other brewery and asked them to change the name of the beer with no success. I tweeted a link to the statement and unknowingly placed myself at the centre of a Twitter shit-storm.

It soon turned out that the unnamed brewery was the Craft Brewing Company, based near Norwich in Norfolk who trade under the name Redwell. Their response painted a very different picture of the incident, accusing Camden Town of using big brewery, bully boy tactics and giving them only 7 days to cease manufacture of their own Hells Lager. A beer that up until a month ago, did not exist. The Craft Brewing Company (who from here on in I shall refer to as Redwell for brevity) then go on to challenge Camden to a 'taste off' with the loser having to drop the name Hells for good. I tweeted the link to this too and thus the shit-storm continued to rage on.

To be perfectly honest, both statements made me cringe. The public domain is never the place for trademark disputes. Camden's statement was well written, but used terms such as 'intellectual property' painting them in the same big brewery colours that Redwell had also done. Terms that will do nothing to endear them to their customers. On the other hand, Redwell's own statement was rushed and contained many mistakes and factual inaccuracies, it had all the hallmarks of a knee jerk reaction. 

I stated on Twitter that neither brewery would win this battle but despite this something inside me would not let go. I simply had to get to the bottom of this come hells or high water. 

I began my research by trying to find out if Hells was in fact a beer style or if it was truly a brand that Camden had created for themselves. In Redwell's statement they write "Hells, for any German, is a generic description for light lager, as is the term helles and hell along with several other similar variations." In German 'hell' or 'helles' simply means 'light' or 'bright'. 'Hells' does not mean either of these things, in German it just means 'hells' and is not used to describe a beer style. 'Hell' and 'helles' are though, as indicated by the German Beer Institute on their website.

What this means is that although 'Helles' and 'Hell' are styles of beer 'Hells' is without question of a doubt a brand. A brand that has been developed and used by Camden Town Brewery for four years. A brand that they are becoming synonymous with. 

After I had decided that Hells was not a term used to describe a style of lager I then went on to look into similar disputes and their outcome. Does anybody remember Brewstar of Morpeth near Newcastle-upon-Tyne? After Brewsters of Lincolnshire asked them to change their name they did so and became the fantastic Anarchy Brew Co. Remember Magic Rock Curious pale ale? Well this is now called Ringmaster after the Chapel Down Brewery, who brew a beer called Curious Brew, asked them to change that name, which they did. What about Thornbridge Raven Black IPA? I asked Thornbridge Brewer Dominic Driscoll what happened here and he told me that the Orkney Brewery, who brew Raven Ale, asked them to change the name. They got together, had a few beers and Raven metamorphosed into Wild Raven.

This is just three examples of British breweries working out branding disputes behind closed doors in a mature and businesslike fashion. On any of these occasions no heels were dragged through the mire and not a drop of blood was shed. 

So why did Camden feel the need to go public with this particular dispute? Well after speaking to the brewery I know that Director of Brewing Alex Troncoso personally tried to contact Redwell on numerous occasions to arrange a meeting to sort this mess out. Eventually when Redwell's answer to their calls was to arrange a winner takes all loser takes nothing taste test, Camden felt they had no choice but to take things to the next level. If Redwell had shown some maturity at this stage it would have never come to this. It should never have come to this. 

The further I delved into this mess the more I began to believe that Camden were in the right and that Redwell were taking advantage of previous mistakes. Camden's dispute with Weird Beard (that also involved BrewDog) made all three breweries look bad but on this occasion the consumers rallied behind Weird Beard and Camden earned the bully-boy reputation that Redwell have used to their advantage on this occasion. In my opinion this is now water under the bridge, mistakes were made but in the end the name of the offending beer was changed. 

Redwell are no stranger to legal disputes themselves having had a wrangling with Red Bull who wrote a letter asking Redwell to change the name of their brewing operation. Redwell took this to the national media with accusations of corporate bullying and Red Bull eventually backed down with Redwell's own profile being raised significantly. I even discussed this with some of the guys from Redwell when I met them at the Craft Beer Rising earlier this year. We had a bit of a laugh about it while I tried their beers which I really enjoyed, especially their Pilsner and India Pale Lager.

I spend a lot of time down at the Camden Town Brewery bar. It's 3 miles from my office and directly on my route home from work. It's my local brewery, it's a very important part of what 'craft beer' is to me and I've been a regular there since it opened in early 2012. I've got to know a lot of the people that work for the brewery through my bar visits and through this blog, I call many of the staff friends. Camden Town's bar encapsulates the spirit of the craft beer scene, it's a fantastic place to buy a drink and spend an evening. If anyone believes that they hold their brand above their beer then I can assure you that you are wrong. The guys at Camden are some of the most passionate, hardworking people in the industry. They are not bullies, they simply care a great deal about something they have spent the past four years building their business on and they have every right to try and protect this. 

It's when I saw several people who I respect and also call friends announce that they would be boycotting Camden Town beers because they are 'bullies' that I was incensed to dig deeper. After both of the statements had been released I tried to remain impartial but after much deliberation I now firmly believe that Camden are being taken advantage of and that Redwell are in the wrong. 

As a craft brewery, Redwell have a responsibility to educate and inform their customers. Stating that 'Hells' is a generic description used by Germans to describe light lager is a falsehood and just a little research on my part proved this. It is an easy enough mistake to make so I will gift Redwell the benefit of the doubt and believe that this is indeed a mistake. I know from speaking to several people at Camden including senior staff that Redwell were asked several times to change the name of their beer. They refused and I believe that they are playing on Camden's past spat with Weird Beard in an effort to besmirch their name. 

Craft brewing is a professional and mature young industry and this kind of behaviour has no place in it. Redwell are both misinforming and misleading their own customers at the cost of the credibility of one of our country's best breweries and this is simply not acceptable. 

As a consumer, as a customer, as someone who is passionate about beer I ask you Redwell to please see sense and change the name of your beer. Let's put this behind us, move on and concentrate on making great beer for people to enjoy.

To quote my friend and fellow beer writer Chris Hall 'Camden Hells Lager is their lifeblood'. It is everything they stand for and have worked for since their inception in 2010. Taste it side by side with a Tegernseer Hell, a highly regarded authentic Bavarian Helles and tell me that it's not an incredibly accomplished beer. Taste their new India Hells Lager which launches in cans next month and tell me its not a game changer. Most importantly please join me for a beer at the brewery bar next Friday evening, the 19th of September and experience The Home of Hells for yourself. I challenge you not to have a good time. 

55 comments:

  1. I have to agree with you. Courting controversy keeps your name in the public domain and guarantees a few column inches whether it be national press or beer writers blog, and it was certainly a topic of discussion with my drinking buddies this weekend.
    I can't see this ending anything but badly if Redwell don't back down on this occasion, and to me personally 'Redwell Hell' is a better sounding name for a beer than 'Redwell Hells' or even 'Redwell Helles' in any case.
    A nicely reasoned piece.

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    1. Thanks Justin, hope you had a cracking day at the Swan yesterday.

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    2. Indeed, was a fantastic day and interestingly the beer menu contained a Hell (Hacker Pschorr) and a Helles (Augustiner) but no Hells. The Camden Ink was on top form though!

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  2. My own conclusions with respect to brand/style were the same. On that front Redwell seem to have been handed a shovel by Camden and whilst Camden have since kept quiet Redwell have been digging themselves into a big old hole of daftness.

    Redwell's other argument is along the lines that this is a bit of a righteous fight against "the man"... which is working for them amongst the masses, as it is bound to - and helped along by Camden's previous "form" on similar issues. Personally I don't buy the BS about them trying to "save" the word Hells for the greater good... I don't see why/how the Greater Good should give a crap. As far as being anti-trademark goes too... well, Redwell has filed for more trademarks than Camden has. Another bit of emotive spin... taking advantage of the credulousness of their fans, who start to look a bit stupid in the process of all this.

    I continue to like to think this boils down to someone not actually having a clue about Helles/Hell/"Hells" and making a daft mistake... but then unfortunately getting rather childish about it rather than just admitting the error. Maybe spurred on by having already spent a bunch of funds on branding/etc.

    Sadly it is starting to pick up a smell of being a deliberate bit of controversy whoring.

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    1. Thanks for the link to your post Yvan I hadn't seen that yet, good stuff. It would seem to me that we've drawn similar conclusions.

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  3. Nice bit of research there Matt - having read this and other pieces I've come the same conclusion as you.

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  4. > 'Hells' does not mean either of these things, in German it just means 'hells' and is not used to describe a beer style.<

    Be careful now. In German, "hells" doesn't exist, but "Hells" theoretically can. Without the 's' at the end, it's as you say, an adjective for light/bright/pale. If capitalised without 's' at the end, it's then a noun of the adjective light/bright/pale. (Nominative: das Hell, ein Hell; Dative: dem Hell, einem Hell)

    The occurance of the word "Hells" in German would be limited to the vanishingly rare instances when it might be used in the genetive (possessive) case as a noun. Say, if someone were talking about "the pale's flavour" -- "der Geschmack des Hells". And that's about as likely to happen in German as in English, if not less.

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    1. So you would say it's an incredibly rare plural for 'Hell' then?

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  5. Nicely plotted out. Although I can't say I found Camden's blog cringeworthy, I thought it was rather matter of fact, underpinned with frustration and exasperation. Redwell's blog however, was a car crash and the 'taste test' offer highlighted that their behaviour indicates people playing at business, rather than understanding it. Their social media conduct after Redbull had rescinded their legal action was particularly graceless.
    It appears I am far more cynical than the rest of you as I would say that it appears quite obvious that Redwell have done this intentionally. They are more than aware of Camden's prevalence in London, and more than aware of the prevalence of Hells in particular. It's no accident they called the beer 'Hells", it's quite obvious what they were aiming to do and they also knew that Camden would HAVE to react. If Redwell refused to sit down and talk they knew they'd be leaving Camden with no choice. If Camden's timeline is accurate then Redwell knew exactly what was coming and instead of doing something positive about it, they made a choice to extrapolate as much cynical exposure from the situation as possible. They know they'll have to back down eventually, but in the meantime they're happy to drag not just Camden, but the 'craft' beer producing sector through the mud at the same time, for purely selfish gain. Camden have sat back and said nothing, Redwell are doing the graceless milking, again.
    The accusations of Camden being bully boys are ridiculous. They've got 37 staff, not 600, and that beer contributes 60% of their turnover and probably more than that % of their profit. Their duty as a company is to protect what they have built to ensure the sustainable employment of their staff. Their duty is not to turn a blind eye to any company, big or small, who are deliberately trying to take market share from them by trading off their hard work. We can all be anti-capitalist and start regurgitating hippy nonsense about trademarking being a big boys game and that it's all unnecessary, but it isn't unnecessary and to think it is is naive.
    If Redwell had called their beer Helles then fair enough, which begs the obvious question, why didn't they just do that? Because of the multiples of breweries who have called their beer Hells and saw it as fair game (there aren't any)? Or to simply target one brewery knowing that no matter what, they couldn't really lose? Camden on the other hand could either lose business or be made to look like the bad guy. If you do that deliberately, if you put another small company in that situation on purpose, you're pretty low. Whether Camden have been right or wrong in the past should be irrelevant to most people, everything situation on it's merits, but to Redwell I think it's rather important. They knew they'd get a reaction and be able to play to poor bullied little brewery whilst damaging a competitor in the process. I hope it backfires, spectacularly.

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    1. Great points there Chris. I'm with you on the view that Redwell have done this intentionally knowing full well that Camden would go after them and that they would be able to play the 'little guy' card on twitter. I think Camden have taken the higher ground, they published their point and have keep quiet about it ever since. Redwell on the other hand have taken to twitter and I think it's backfired a little (particularly the 'deleted tweet' incident). I'm with Camden on this one, they are protecting their brand while Redwell are just looking for cheap publicity. Great piece here by Matt too by the way. Well written and clearly throughout researched.

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    2. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment and insight. I am willing to give Redwell the benefit of the doubt unless without shadow of a doubt it's proved their intent was as you say of course. I only cringed at Camden's original post because, as I said earlier, trademark disputes never look pretty once they're dragged into the public domain.

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    3. And thanks Steve for your kind words. I for one admire the staff at Camden for keeping their heads down while chaos whirls around them.

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  6. Great article Matthew. Two other well researched articles also on this topics are: http://ale.gd/blog/2014/09/hellish-data/ and http://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/london-beer%E2%84%A2-wars.210618/

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    1. Hi David, thanks for your kind words and for sharing the link. I really liked Yvan's post and feel it reiterates the points I made earlier today. I'm afraid to say the article from Beer Advocate barks up the wrong tree entirely though, they really need to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak.

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    2. Have to disagree with you on that one. The second half of that article went more in depth into the current situation for Camden. Especially since you glossed over the fact that CTB and Steiger are now in dispute over the same word, Peter Lalor's comments from the Australian Newspaper article about CTB and hells, examples of prior use of Hells by other breweries showing lack of originality and uniqueness. Or are they all old dogs? This inclusions in your article above would have provided a little more balance.

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    3. I personally didn't see how those incidents related to this particular case. I believe that Steiger's issue is that the word 'hells' shouldn't exist rather than a trademark dispute?

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  7. "one of our country's best breweries" - are you still talking about Camden by this point? A hell of a claim and in my view not even near being correct.

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    1. Hi Rob, opinion on what makes a great beer is relative of course but yes, Camden make great beer and IHL is potentially the best new beer I've tried this year.

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    2. Agreed Rob. I like what Camden do and their bar is all that's right about the modern British beer scene. 'One of our country's best breweries', just a tad sycophantic?

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    3. I stand by what I said here guys and I'll reiterate that IHL will make a lot of people feel the same as I do.

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  8. It's obvious you're just sticking up for your mates at Camden here. And "one of the country's best breweries" gave me a good laugh, they're not even close to the best brewery in north London imo! Plus, isn't a lot of Camdens beer made in Germany so it's not even theirs?

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    1. "All of our small pack (cans and bottled beer) is made in Camden as well as some of our kegged beer. We brew the rest of our kegged beer at a family owned brewery in Belgium. We work closely with them to do this and regularly have our brewers in Belgium to ensure the quality of our beers. Once we build our new brewery (target 2016) all our production will move back in house."

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    2. Hi Gazza, the answer is of course yes, I am sticking up for my mates. Wouldn't you do the same for your mates if they were in the same situation? Some Hells is brewed in Belgium, it's not a secret and can be viewed on the FAQ of their website here: http://www.camdentownbrewery.com/faq/

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    3. So you're freely admitting you're biased and this post isn't worth the pixels it's written on.

      Tell me, why haven't Camden gone after Augustiner? Is it because they used the term decades before Camden, or is it because they are actually big enough to be able to afford flashy lawyers? Or do you genuinely believe that sticking a 's' on the end is tantamount to 'intellectual property'?

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  9. I came to a similar conclusion as you. But the weird beard thing is being held against them big time. So much so that it seems the actual arguments don't matter. (BTW Redwell are claiming Hells is a common alternative spelling based on a couple of Swiss brewers and 1 from Liechtenstein. Funnily enough, I found the same ones on ratebeer myself. Their playing dumb us the most annoying thing about this so far to me.)

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    1. I think if I were someone from those breweries I would be having a little chuckle to myself about CTB's claim to originality and uniqueness.

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    2. It's a shame that previous events are being held against them, I think it has little to no baring on what occured this week. I've witnessed Camden staff happily interacting with Weird Beard staff recently with Camden staff even attending their takeover of BrewDog Camden a few months ago. As far as I'm concerned that's water under the bridge.

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    3. I agree I doubt it has any bearing on this case, but hey, people have long memories. Particularly among CAMRA types who don't like the hipster London beer scene, so take any excuse to shove the boot it. And everyone likes the underdog, so Redwell framing Camden as an evil corporation and them the plucky souls trying to scrape out a living.... Similar in a way to the Brewster/Brew Star thing, where Brewster were made out to be a big established company using their financial clout to bully someone. I've had an incredibly frustrating conversation on the CAMRA group on Facebook about this. I kept asking the question why Redwell used Hells rather than Helles, but no one has given any explanation, other than "Ah, but this obscure Liechenstein brewery called it Hells too, so Camden are wrong."

      I'm still not sure I would have taken Camden's route. But Redwell just strike me as being utter dicks at the moment.

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  10. As Eric Bischoff once said "controversy creates cash" and it is a true statement. If you create an online maelstrom long enough the story will probably get picked up by a local or national newspaper who will do a little write up and give the Red Bull history which is the BIG hook. The story being potential picked up by the printed press is worth more than annoying the small core of craft diehards who use twitter and blog solely about beer (you have to be diehard yourself to read and follow the beer blogs). Even if everyone who is really annoyed at this story stopped drinking Redwell beers it wouldn't have a negative effect on the potential sales gained from future brand recognition. If the printed press do pick this story up it will reach a lot more people who will now recognise the brewery name Redwell and the word "lager" the next time they're at the bar. Sadly, they won't even be concerned with the beer type that is Helles or any brand name that is similarly worded.

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    1. Some good points Jester, thanks for the comment. I think it's important to say that I don't want to see people not drinking Redwell's beers because of this, I'd just like to see them do the right thing and change the name of their beer then get back to making great beer.

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    2. I know you're not suggesting that Matt but it's the most extreme reaction any craft diehard could have to the situation if they felt that passionately about the situation. My personal view is that it's a storm in a tea cup. Brewing is a business but what makes craft, craft, is that for the moment it's still run and managed by people who are, generally, brewers first and business people second. This combination leads to great beer and the occasional passionate, flash-in-the-pan, open for all to see, spats. It would seem that Redwell are trying to capitalise on the previous results of both breweries open spats with different breweries / companies to garner public support and gain some free promotion. If Redwell had been seen to try closed negotiations before it got to this point then perhaps they'd be getting more support now – but if there's no fire then there's no story.

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  11. It is water under the bridge.
    CTB have openly acknowledged their past mistakes. Everyone is learning and growing together, mistakes will be made.
    People need to see this for what it is, Redwell are deliberately trying to ride on the back of CTB's hard work and success and are hungry for the glory they think the media attention will give them.

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  12. Afterthought: If people can't recognize the quality and consistency of Camden town beers they have their heads up their arses.

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    1. Think it's the inverse of that myself - if poeple can't recognise the blandness and non-craftness of CTB they have their heads up their arses / don't drink a lot of good beer.

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    2. Personally Gazza I think in terms of quality and consistency Camden are up there will some of the most highly regarded American brewers such as Odell or to look more closely to home, Thornbridge. I also think that as a brewer yourself you are better placed than most to understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what makes good beer.

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    3. If you are a brewer Gazza you should be aware of style guidesd and importance of consistency and the beer is very much craft. The mind boggles really.

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  13. The term 'intellectual property' is off putting!? Oh come on.

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    1. I meant that in the context that Camden's customers might be put off by overly technical marketing jargon. The way Camden usually communicate to their customers through things like twitter is very relaxed and conversational, the way it should be. This was all business speak which runs at odds with that. Does that make sense?

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  14. "It's a shame that previous events are being held against them, I think it has little to no baring on what occured this week." But Matt, that is PRECISELY why many people have taken against Camden in this instance...They. Have. Previous. And whilst it may be "water under the bridge" to CTB, it manifestly ISN'T to beer drinkers.

    Camden *may* have kept quiet on the subject, but they can afford to with such an eloquent presence/"mate" campaigning forcefully on their behalf! What they need to understand is that they have pissed off many people in the beer business, both (non-London) bloggers and brewers - exemplified by the most forceful Mr Prescott.

    Camden opened the box on this. Publically. Redwell responded. Equally publically. I note that Camden offered to meet Redwell "to discuss a mutually satisfying resolution". One can only assume (with all the risks that that word carries) the this "resolution" would have needed to be to Camden's liking?

    Perhaps, given all of the fire and brimstone on this, it IS time for the two to sit down and have a chat "over a few beers" to reach a solution that suits BOTH parties. But to do that, I would suggest that Camden drop the big stick that they are carrying behind their backs.



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    1. By using the term 'beer drinkers' that would mean by your standards, myself, the people who agree with me, the people who drink at Camden's bar, at home and in the bars that stock the beer are not 'beer drinkers' - That arrogant attitude simply has no precedence here.

      Alex, Camden's Director of Brewing attempted too arrange a chat with Redwell "over a few beers" several times. They refused, several times. I think you've got the wrong end of the stick you think Camden are hiding behind their back.

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  15. Jealousy can be a real bloody bitch.
    CTB is a terrific brewery that produce great and consistent beer. Just like all other breweries strive for. Tall poppy syndrome strikes again. Shame on Redwell for trying this sob story bullshit on! I hope they step down ASAP.

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  16. When I first heard of this, my immediate feeling of was that Camden were clearly in the wrong. And I choose to use clearly to demonstrate how obvious it was to me. But I thought I better consider it some more; so I did: no change. Obviously you’d nailed your colours to the mast but, no offence; you make no secret of how close you are to CTB. So I looked at what other people whose views I respect were saying. And I was quite relieved-I thought perhaps I was missing some salient point-to find that they concurred with my thinking.

    I was trying to explain the situation to someone last night but, as I say, it seems so obvious I was struggling to explain your stance. In a nutshell then, is it that Camden Hells is a brand? Which I believe, unless it’s trademarked, is just a posh term for a name. So is your gripe that Redwell have used the same name for their beer? Thereby causing confusion to drinkers and possibly diminishing sales of Camden Hells?

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    1. Hi Tyson, thanks for your comment. My gripe is not as simple as that and as I feel that I explained these points well enough in the post above that I don't need to spell them out again for you here.

      My worry is that the reaction you and a few other people on this thread have had is potentially the result Redwell wanted and why they behaved like they did. Do you respect a small business that is potentially manipulating their customers at the expense of another small businesses reputation? I'd call that malpractice.

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  17. Camdem and Redwell didn't even register on my radar until this controversy, perhaps as I am based in Birmingham. Now having tasted both varieties of Hells's. I fail to see what all the fuss is about. Both were of a very poor standard, and hardly 'craft'! And by that I mean pushing the boundaries of quality and taste.

    Both have used this as marketing over content in my opinion and while in the short term they may make gain (see my own purchases) the beers themselves are not special enough to be worth the wrangling.

    Sorry!

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    1. You read the whole blog and still think there is something called "Hells's"? Seriously?

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  18. Love your intellectual definition of craft, mate! Laughable haha.

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  19. There's a couple of other 'Hells' beers out there, just Redwell are British so they got called out by Camden. The other brewers are Swiss I believe (no doubt you've seen these) though I really don't think Redwell were copying the Swiss naming though! they were obviously after the prestige in Camdens name.

    However what's to say that Camden didn't copy the Swiss naming? I haven't done any research but If the Swiss 'Hells' beers are older than Camden's then should both Camden and Redwell cease brewing 'Hells'?

    No, obviously not!

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    1. Good points but a quick bit of research demonstrates the prevalence of the Swiss Hells is minute compared to that of Camden Hells. Take for example on Untappd:

      As Jùschts Hells: https://untappd.com/b/fleisch-und-brau-juschts-hells/793873/

      Camden Hells: https://untappd.com/b/camden-town-brewery-camden-hells/158571

      Other sites such as Ratebeer yield similar results. It's also very important to remember that Camden's application for a trademark with only apply in EU member nations of which Switzerland is not.

      Regardless that's not the issue, I still think Redwell are in the wrong and they still haven't done anything about it.

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    2. > "prevalence"

      So being bigger and more commercially successful wins any argument. Brilliant. I'd love to hear your take on the whole Budweiser situation some day.

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  20. PhantomFlanFlinger21 October 2014 at 21:42

    Ignoring the couple of American and couple of European brewers who produce, or produced, beers named "Hells", didn't Camden have their EU trademark application of last year objected already?

    Are they really pursuing a UK only trademark now, so those pesky mainlanders don't notice? Sneaky.

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  21. I'm late to this, but I see Camden Town beers as beginner beers for the craft drinker or passable craft beers when the choice on tap is theirs or a mass produced brew. I've never been attracted to drinking Hells and Redwell win the pepsi challenge with them every time. I live in North London and choose Redwell over Camden every time their beers are on the taps next to each other. I wasn't impressed by Camden's approach here and your boys club article hasn't helped in asking Redwell to drop the name. This is poorly written if it is intended to inform as it is ultimately just a pop at Redwell and a unpalatable woe is them Camden sob story. Ultimately the best brewery and beer will out for each of us and for me that is Redwell by far, their one off produced amber ale, Jolene, was a truly wonderful brew which rushed straight in to my all-time top three. Whatever your views on IHL you threw any credibity out with the lager proclaiming Camden as one of the best. They're not even in the frame.

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    1. Hi Damian, thanks for commenting. I really enjoyed Jolene when I had it earlier this year at the Duke's Head in Highgate and I genuinely think Redwell make some really decent beers. Let's put the beer to one side though. In this case, Redwell have, by all accounts, both copied and piggybacked on a brand that Camden have spent over four years working hard to create from nothing. The worst thing though is that they have, in my opinion, deliberately tried to grow a dislike for Camden amongst consumer which is serious business malpractice. To be fair, the guys that work for Redwell have the same passion and enthusiasm for great beer as the guys at Camden but I still think what they have done by imitating Hells is fundamentally wrong.

      I also live in North London so if you're ever in the Kentish Town area on a Friday night, let me know and I'd love to buy you a pint of IHL at the Camden Brewery Bar. You can tell me then if you still think they brew 'beginner' beers.

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