Words & Photo - Matthew Curtis
Sussex based brewery Burning Sky has revealed its decision to pull its beer from all of BrewDog’s 29 domestic and 17 international bars with immediate effect. Burning Sky founder and head brewer Mark Tranter has also revealed exclusively to Total Ales that his brewery will cease any other activity, such as meet the brewer events, with the Aberdeenshire based brewery.
In an email sent to BrewDog last week, Tranter outlined his reasons behind making this decision. In the note he argues that the Scottish brewer, which owns the trademark for the word punk in relation to beer, is behaving in a manner that runs against the very ideology upon which the punk movement was founded.
“Historically they have been derogative towards the UK brewing scene - which we find insulting,” Tranter said, speaking to Total Ales about his decision. “They are choosing to define what is and isn't craft to suit themselves.”
Tranter, a self-identifying punk, echoes an opinion shared by the rest of the punk community. His decision follows the threat of legal action by BrewDog over the proposed opening of a bar in Leeds that was to be named “Draft Punk.” This threat followed a previous legal wrangling with a Birmingham based pub previously called Lone Wolf, which shared its moniker with the Scottish brewers new range of spirits. The bar shortened its name to The Wolf and went on to produce a limited edition gin with Brewdog called Wolf Pack. The irony that this new gin shares its name with an existing brand of lager seems to have escaped the beer community at large.
"This devalues something that they have no claim over. Punk was around before these guys were born." - Mark Tranter, Burning Sky
“On the subject of punk, this is the final straw for us,” Tranter says. “Whilst we understand that they are tying to protect a brand, their bully boy tactics over anyone using the word punk in line with bars or beer is tedious and their attempt to claim legal ownership of the word is bizarre and insulting. This devalues something that they have no claim over. Punk was around before these guys were born.”
Total Ales reached out to BrewDog for comment on the situation and the MD for its bars division, David McDowall responded with the following:
“It’s sad to hear that Burning Sky has decided to stop supplying beer to BrewDog bars, as we have always championed the UK’s best craft breweries, and constantly strive to curate epic UK craft beer ranges for our bars. It’s a shame that our customers won't get the chance to enjoy their beers in our bars anymore, but we’ll be making space in our fridges for even more amazing beer from new, up and coming breweries from across the UK and beyond.”
BrewDog was once again in the spotlight this week after it lost a legal battle with the estate of Elvis Presley over the name of its beer Elvis Juice.