As our stag do headed towards its final destination in the Jewellery Quarter – The Lord Clifden – we stopped off at a pub that would have Rich doing cartwheels as it was a keg paradise.
Burning Soul, Beavertown, Magic Rock. White Hag, Marble, Siren, Twisted Barrel, Freedom and Hogan’s Cider to name but a few were all on offer at 236 – The Wolf B19 3LY.
This relatively new boozer is situated at the foot of Constitution Hill in Hockley at the edge of the Jewellery Quarter/Gun Quarter in a fantastic old building near to Snow Hill Station and is one of the burgeoning new bars on Birmingham’s Craft scene.
However, it was noted that Timbo’s new best friend – BrewDog – were conspicuous by their absence and it is hardly surprising considering the history between The Wolf and the self-proclaimed punk rock brewers from Aberdeen.
The boozer was originally called the Lone Wolf but BrewDog weren’t happy with the fact that someone else was being “punk rock” and daring to call their bar after a brand of vodka used by BrewDog.
Suffice to say the big boys, who portray themselves as anti-corporate, backed down when they realised they were being fairly ridiculous but the damage, instigated by lawyers, was already done and The Wolf was born.
Mind you, this came at a cost to the small independent bar (am I playing the David v Goliath line enough!) who had to change a lot of literature and basically smacked of bullying tactics.
I like BrewDog boozers but this was poor form and after a long Twitter spat BrewDog held their hands up and admitted they were in the wrong but The Wolf – to their credit – continue to snub the lure of Punk IPA.
Bar owner Joshua McFadyen from Sheldon said in The Birmingham Mail “We were shocked as we’d registered the Lone Wolf name for our bar over a year ago, although we didn’t think to trademark because we thought it was just a building.
“We got some legal advice and were told we had a good case to take it to court but as we had spent all our money on launching the bar – and with all the other costs involved, we had nothing left to fight their lawyers.
“After they sent a second letter demanding we take immediate action we began the arduous process of changing the name to The Wolf including signage and everything else.
“We’ve had to go through the stress of having the threat of legal action hanging over us, and the hassle and expense of changing the name to The Wolf including all exterior signage, promotion and social media- not to mention having to pay for legal representation to respond to their cease and desist letters. It’s all cost us a few thousand pounds.
“Getting a new business off the ground is hard enough. We ploughed all our savings into launching Lone Wolf, then had to pay for legal letters and rebranding and now a month later we’re told we can change it back. It’s laughable really.”
James Watt, co-founder at BrewDog has subsequently backtracked massively even offering them gin at a discount but it wasn’t on offer when we arrived.
“It appears our lawyers did what lawyers do and got a bit carried away with themselves, asking the owners of the new ‘Lone Wolf’ bar to change its name, as we own the trademark. Now we’re aware of the issue, we’ve set the lawyers straight and asked them to sit on the naughty step to think about what they’ve done,” Watt told the Birmingham Mail.
“Of course, we’re more than happy for the Lone Wolf bar to use the name. To make up for the confusion, we’ll be sending them a case of LoneWolf vodka and LoneWolf gin before we launch officially. We’ll even give them a year’s supply of gin and vodka at 50 per cent discount to show we mean well.
“If they prefer their new name of The Wolf, we’re cool with that too. The offer still stands of course.”
I arrived in The Wolf with three pals on the Brum stag do at around 4pm on Thursday and it had a good atmosphere. I’ve been here before and it’s always got a good young hip kind of vibe going and as the stag is 27 then it is perfect.
I’m not quite sure what the beer was but I think it may well have been Burning Soul brewery in Brum, who are starting to make waves but this place is ticking over nicely despite the interference of BrewDog…Never Mind The B******s Here’s The Wolf!