Drinks giant attempts to quash small brewery
Heidsieck, part of the global Remy Cointreau group, is claiming infringement of trademark on the grounds of confusion with a name they have registered. At Old Dairy, managing director Lionel Fretz is struggling to see the connection between beer and Champagne. "When we found out that Heidsieck had the name Red Top registered for Champagne, we never imagined there would be a problem. They are claiming the likelihood of confusion, which is absolutely ridiculous. They produce superb French Champagnes, we produce fine English ales. It's a totally different market and are in a different league when it comes to price. The only similarity I can see is they both appeal to discerning drinkers."
Old Dairy Brewery is based in an old dairy outside the small Kent village of Rolvenden and brews two beers: Red Top (3.8%) and Gold Top (4.5%).
The stand-off recalls the case brought by the American whiskey maker Jim Beam that attempted to block imports of the Irish stout Beamish on the grounds of product confusion.