Dear Red Bull

RedBull_Header

Hey Red Bull –

You seem pretty cool. You sponsor snowboarders, adventure racers, rock climbers and motocross bikers. You launch people into space so that they can skydive back down to earth. That’s all really darn cool. For all I know, you’re reading this while strapping yourself into a Formula One racecar that is about to be lit on fire and jumped over a large chasm of some sort. How cool would that be? Feel free to give it a try.

Here’s the thing, though. You are being extremely uncool to us at Old Ox Brewery. We are a small startup brewery in Ashburn, Virginia. We’re family-run, we love beer, and we love our community. For reasons that we cannot understand, you have attempted to strong arm us into changing our identity for the last 10 months because you believe folks might mistake Old Ox beer for Red Bull energy drinks. We respectfully disagree. The only similarity between our two products is that they are both liquids. You make non-alcoholic (but very extreme) energy drinks. We make delicious (but laid-back) beer. Our consumers are looking for two distinctly different experiences from our respective products.

Basically you are holding us hostage with a list of demands that, if agreed to, would severely limit our ability to use our brand. Demands like, never use the color red, silver or blue; never use red with any bovine term or image; and never produce soft drinks. Do you own the color red? What about fuchsia, scarlet, crimson, or mauve? Are you planting your flag in the color wheel and claiming those shades for Red Bull? Do you claim exclusive rights to all things bovine? Do you plan to herd all heifers, cows, yaks, buffalo, bison, and steer into your intellectual property corral, too?

When we refused to succumb to your demands, you responded by filing a formal opposition to not just our trademark but to the very name Old Ox Brewery. Way to step on our American dream. You say you are protecting your intellectual property rights, but your claim, in our opinion, is Red Bulls**t.

We can only interpret your actions as one thing—bullying. You are a big Red Bully. Just like that mean kid from grade school pushing everyone down on the playground and giving us post-gym class wedgies. You are giving us one hell of a corporate wedgie. We don’t appreciate it and we sure as hell don’t deserve it.

Is this really what you’re about? Are you a bully? Your extensive marketing campaigns (your glitzy advertising, your sponsored sports events, your death defying stunt shows, etc.) certainly don’t project that image. Take a hard look at your “case.” Can you honestly look at our brand and say, “this is a threat to my image?” We don’t think you can. Given that,  we repeat our offer: We agree NEVER to produce energy drinks. In exchange, we are asking for one simple thing: Leave us alone. Drop this trademark dispute. The only people benefiting are the lawyers.

Sincerely and Uninfringingly Yours,

CHRIS SIGNATURE (3)

Chris Burns

President – Old Ox Brewery

74 thoughts on “Dear Red Bull

  1. Thomas Wagner says:

    Boycott Redbull

    1. P.F. says:

      Seriously Red Bull, be realistic. Yes, you have extensive market recognition in your trademark and product. But do you make beer? No. Old Ox has said it won’t branch into your product line – energy drinks. What more do you want? Remember when you were a start up company, what if someone with large coffers extorted your dreams of a new business? You might not be the company you are today or even have survived. Be realistic and a good corporate citizen please.

  2. Joe Flanigan says:

    Really RedBull?

    I think that Merill Lynch, the beef industry and the dairy industry should gang up on you! After all, they have all used the bovine in marketing long before the energy drink was invented!

    I for one will never use one of your products or watch any event sponsored by you! I will also recommend the same to everyone I know!

  3. DAVID R. WALKER says:

    Has a petition been created yet?!?!

  4. Chris Pauly says:

    Well written and way to go.

    Suggestions:
    1. Record it in videos and push to all social channels ASAP with a link to sign your petition

    2. Set up a petition and mailchimp it ASAP

    3. Post a banner ( even if small) in the brewery to muster support. You never know around here it could be Steve Case drinking your stuff….. He may own 10% of their stock…

    Anyway – again great call – you are going to prevail in this one. Rock on. Cjp

  5. Ken Schroppe says:

    I will not drink Red Bull until they apologize for this behavior

  6. Pingback: Пивные войны. Red Bull против крафтовой пивоварни из Вирджинии. Пивные новости. Крафтовое пиво | БЛОГ ПИВНОГО АДВОКАТА

  7. Scott says:

    You guys surely don’t deserve this bullsh!t. This is a total abuse of trademark law. They probably know it going in, and are just waiting for you to spend $50K to defend yourselves. Total bullsh!t bullying from a big corporate company and their corrupt counsel.

  8. Mark Sokolowski says:

    Wow. So hard to believe that something like this is even possible. Can Elmer’s glue sue Red Bull? Can milk still use cows? What about BBQ joints? Can Superman sue Red Bull for using red/yellow/blue in combination? Unbelievable. Thanks for fighting the fight!

  9. Paula says:

    I thought the point of having/being a corporation was to respond to consumer demand and rake in exorbitant profits. How does paying high-priced lawyers to bring a frivolous lawsuit and turning off customers with greed and childishness accomplish this?

  10. YoScott says:

    What about New Glarus Spotted Cow? I’m pretty sure New Glarus uses red on their labels.

    Then you have Bull and Bones, a restaurant in Blacksburg VA that makes their own beer on site (though not distributed)

    Most glaringly, what about Schlitz Malt liquor? Isn’t their whole logo a Blue Bull? At one point they made a “Red Bull” Malt Liquor, but I’m not entirely sure it’s the same Red Bull drank today.

    There’s Red bull Vodka, Rock Bull beer, White Bull Lager, Cock n bull Ginger Beer (With red logo!), and of course Rocky Mountain Oyster stout, made with Real Bull Testicles.

    Seriously, stop being a dick. Those of us drinking craft beer will definitely never confuse the two liquids. Most of us want to keep our stomach linings in tact and not drink your acidic toxic waste.

  11. Skip says:

    Red Bull’s suit is the very definition of frivolous. You don’t use the image of a bull in your marketing or name, Your colors aren’t remotely similar, your font isn’t remotely similar, and you don’t make a competing product. this is absolutely just corporate bullying.

    I agree with the other poster about being sure to spread this issue as far and as wide as possible – social media, email, etc. You might consider talking to some newspapers about this. I’d bet you a cold beer there’s a reporter out there that would love to take up this David vs. Goliath story.

  12. Old Ox – really sad state of affairs when Red Bull Energy Drinks comes after someone so dedicated in their “craft”. The community loves you guys and I for one will support you all for what you brew, what you stand for in the community and family ownership! #oxbrewingnotredbullying

  13. Brian Nordwall says:

    If I was a energy drinker (I’m not) I would be insulted that Red Bull would think I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them and Old Ox Brewery! I hope you guys continue the good fight against Red Bull and I look forward to trying your micro brews.

  14. Andrew says:

    Have been meaning to try your brewery. After this response I will make sure I stop in next time I am back in Virginia. Don’t back down.

  15. Keith says:

    I don’t get how Red Bull has a case… now whoever invented tic-tac-toe might… but not Red Bull…

  16. Pingback: Red Bull wants to rename an Ashburn brewery, because an ox looks like a bull - The Washington Post

  17. Pingback: Red Bull wants to rename an Ashburn brewery, because an ox looks like a bull | Local National News

  18. Kevin says:

    Wait, what? I’ve seen Old Ox at beer fests, seen their logos, and I had no reminiscence of Red Bull whatsoever. What in the world is Red Bull thinking? This is batshit crazy.

  19. Robert says:

    Are the people at Red Bull stupid? Don’t they know the difference between an OX and a BULL.

  20. Lisa says:

    This is just stupid….but explains a lot. My family has been following Old Ox since before they had a product to offer to the public. I’ve never met a family who was more community oriented, generous and caring and about the people who would become and are their customers. This is the American dream…one that my husband wants to follow. The mean spirited bully Red Bull should be ashamed. Maybe it is time that social media is used for good……we all need to let Red Bull to “let it go”……who is with me? Chris and Burns family…..we all love your beer, now let’s make this right!

  21. Jeff says:

    An Austrian billionaire peddling unhealthy, caffiene-laden soda to naive teens and 20-somethings…nothing but a drug pusher in my opinion. I will do my part to spread the word about what an ugly corporate citizen this company and its ownership is. I am closely connected to marketing special event promotions throughout the Wasington DC metro area. I’ll do my best to make certain Red Bull is no longer welcome at any of those events as a vendor or commercial sponsor…RED BOO!!!!

  22. Gail says:

    Red Bull is owned by Red Bull GmbH, an Austrian company. They are notorious for attempting to silence small craft breweries. Since this story has hit the brewery magazines, let’s get it in the mainstream press. Good Luck!

  23. Andrew Young says:

    Did Red Bull stop to think that maybe the 34th Infantry Division, “Red Bull”, might have an issue with the use of THEIR Distinctive Unit Insignia? The 34th Infantry Division “Red Bull” got the name back in 1917. German soldiers called them Red Devils as well as Red Bulls. So, are they planning on sending the 34th Infantry the same letter sent to Old Ox Brewery? Maybe Old Ox Brewery will make a special edition brew just for the heroes of the 34th Infantry Division “Red Ox Double Whoop Ass IPA”…I like it. Do the right thing Red Bull, go away.

    1. Red Ox double Whoop Ass IPA. I love it!!

  24. Isaiah says:

    Red Bull, you already have the balls, what else do you want?!

  25. Vienna Resident says:

    You need to post this on your FB page so that we share it with Red Bull. I was a part of a similar campaign with Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna vs. The Fresh Market (TFM was pushing Norm’s out of a shopping center where they’d been for years because they sold beer and wine and TFM didn’t want competition). Community support ultimately made TFM back down.

  26. Jason Hemsley says:

    This is stupid beyond belief. The legal team at Red Bull must be desperately trying to justify theiremployment by inventing made-up disputes. Stick to your guns. These idiots can’t possibly win.

  27. Candiece Mili Shields says:

    Red Bull….Old Ox. Exactly what is the problem? I looked up the difference between the two and found the following answer: “Ox refers to any individual (either male or female) of a number of different species of wild cattle. Bull is a male dividual, and it may be used for males of many different species of animals, which may not even be related to cattle. Bull is more of a reference to gender than species. For example, a male elephant may be referred to as a bull (elephant). A male moose is often called a bull moose. Bull Moose is also the name of the party created by Teddy Roosevelt when he lost the Republican party nomination to William Taft in 1912.”

    BACK OFF RED BULL – is business THAT bad that you have to attempt to get money from a small upstart that has a good product? Show some respect for the American business dream.

  28. Eddie H says:

    I’ve never had a Red Bull, and I’ve never had a beer from Old Ox Brewery.

    I can guarantee that these Red Bullies will never get me to drink one of their drinks.

    On the other hand, this letter has won me over and I will make it my mission to find and drink every Old Ox drink I can get my hands on!

    Nicely done, Old Ox. Red Bull, go home!

    Oh yeah, Go United, Beat the New York Red Bulls!

  29. Brenda Chàppelear says:

    This is Corp. Crazy! Dont let them push you around like that. I want to take part in letting them know that they just can’t boss people or a company around. Let’s start a PETITION ASAP!!

  30. Andrew S says:

    it’s happened before with another brewery.
    http://m.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-23705255

  31. Brian says:

    Really Red Bull? Do you not have enough to do? I’d really love to meet the marketing department at Red Bull–now there’s a bunch of wizards–NOT! I find it very interesting that with the W&OD trail right next to the brewery Red Bull might have thought this through a bit more, i.e. cyclists? runners? What a great opportunity to have a positive impact on consumers rather than a negative one. I hope their sales projections from NOVA shows an immediate decline in profitability as I know I’ll never buy another one of their products–EVER.

    Stand and Fight–Old OX–you’re patrons are behind you and willing to do whatever needs done to keep you doing the great things you do!!!

  32. BNaughty says:

    This is total BS. I will never buy one of those Red Bull drinks again. Please let them know that they should start suing every jurisdiction that has used the name Ox, Bull, Bovine or Red in their street naming conventions. Senseless noise and total distractions for a new company. I will be by to help with the consumption, thus support for your case. My suggestion is to start a social media blitz with something akin to the ice bucket challenge. Lets do a Monster Challenge where we pour the competition product on our heads. It will raise their sales and put Red Bull in its place. Good luck on this nonsense suit.

  33. Suzanne says:

    RB really should get their priorities straight — Valentine’s Day is so much bigger. Who’s seeing red?!
    We’ll be stopping by this weekend in support.
    Great letter & story —
    Cheers!

  34. david says:

    I really hope you all at Old Ox stick to your guns on this. Perhaps a counter-suite for harassment is in order? At any rate, as a local, I can’t wait to come by had try some of your beer. I’m happy that the microbrewery trend is alive and well in Loudoun county, and will gladly welcome any brewery or distillery that plants a flag and starts a business here. Except for Red Bull, they are dead to me. I like Monster better anyway.

    Seriously guys, I can’t even play devil’s advocate on Red Bull’s behalf. This is so far on the fringe of reality as to be unintelligible.

  35. Barbara Russell says:

    If you truly believe that your customers can’t tell that “old ox” is different from “red bull” you are certainly admitting that those customers of yours are a bunch of idiots!

  36. I have a beef (pun intended) with Red Bull because they show up in their little Red Bull car at public parks where teenagers are skateboarding (my children) and hand out free cans to get kids hooked on the crap. When the Red Bull reps see me coming with steam blowing out of my horns (still pun intended) they get in their car and speed off. Yep, marketing to children is SUCH a class act. (Sarcasm intended).

  37. I will make it a point to look for Old Ox beer from now on.

  38. Jim Prettyman says:

    The Red Bully boycott begins today at my house. I will scream it from the mountain tops to every person I know. In the meantime, I want to help. Let’s do a fundraising event to help cover some of these legal costs. I’ve got all kinds of ideas!!

  39. Kate Warner says:

    Utter madness. Are they going to go after me if I produce Antelope Ale?

  40. you mess with the bull you get the horns! says:

    Screw redbull, lets go get drunk! on beer! tasty beer! Old ox beer!

  41. Bruiser Flint says:

    Beer, sounds to me like yall sell whine.

  42. Sam T says:

    Is Red bull going to sue Loudon County over the name of Old Ox road. Actually the County should sue Red Bull and force them to remove any reference to Red Bull on their product. Old Ox Road was around for more than 100 years before Red Bull’s drink. There must be other Red Bull products out there some where they shouldd sue the drink manufacturer too..
    I also agree that Old Ox beer should counter sue for harrassmen and filing a frivalous lawsuit. If I were on that jury I would grant you a Billion Dollars in damages and hopefully that would shut down Red Bull’s high caffine drink

    good Luck don’t give in.

  43. Scottie Ewing says:

    A casino in Pennsylvania tried to do the same thing to me with my nightclub, which were both called Sugar House. The casino wasn’t even approved by the voters yet and had yet to be built and they threatened to take me to court. I just ignored them and never heard from them after the first 3 cease and desist letters. I’m sure in this case it’s just some lawyer on retainer trying to log in hours to bill Red Bull. Red Bull likely has no idea who or what Old Ox is, nor do they care. That’s how these things usually work. A nice letter to corporate Red Bull, rather than their attorneys would likely cure this issue. Give that a try.

  44. Mike says:

    This debacle has convinced me to never buy Red Bull again.

    Sorry Red Bull, but any company that acts like such dicks won’t get my business. Not now, not ever.

  45. maks says:

    Sometimes I am sorry to be Austrian …

  46. Susanne says:

    We love Old Ox beer and hate to see this happening. It has definitely changed my opinion of Red Bull.

  47. suzanne says:

    Actually OLD Ox this publicity that Redbull is putting out there may actually help sell more of your product!

  48. Connie says:

    Well I’ll be happy to never support corporate bullying again.

  49. JOHN KIERNAN says:

    Being in advertising in New York certainly had it’s challenges for marketing and identity. After carefully looking at the logo’s and claims, there seems to be a higher agenda on the legal side of “Redbull”. Since Red Bull holds no Merit to design and color in comparison, I feel that “Bullining” a small start up and obvious unrelated business, is their attempt to muscle a scare tactic to the drinking industry. I am having trouble linking the two together. A court will need to decide if the Red Bull legal team can prove that you have changed the look of “Their” logo 20% or more.. To me it is obvious that there is no comparison. You will no doubt run out of money way before they do and that is what they will be counting on. I hope you continue your great quest and all “RED BULLY” will be able to take pride in is put you on the map!!- John Kiernan; (Prior) art director; Y&R, Greenstone and Rebassca, and Stillman Advertising.

  50. Pingback: Red Bull Facing Heavy Criticism for Trademark Opposition Against “Old Ox Brewery” Marks | The Food Identity Blog

  51. Koba Yashi says:

    F*** Yo* RED BULL, Red bull is a CARCINOGENIC AGENT and beer is just ..BEER YEAHHH

  52. Mike Mc says:

    How about a little shooting competition with Red Bull drinks as the target? Then settle in for a couple of Old Ox brews. Poetic justice.

  53. Jon F in Maryland says:

    I’m boycotting redbully until they cease and desist from extortionist behavior. Stay strong, Old Ox!

  54. Tom Volk says:

    I think you should make an energy drink called “Pink Manure” or “Pinky Dung” .

  55. John says:

    I wonder if Red Bull has gone after “Zum Roten Ochsen” in Heidelberg, Germany?

    Seems as if they are far closer to “Red Bull” to me but it might be difficult as they could end up in trademark hot water themselves since “Zum Roten Ochsen” has been around since 1703. Far longer then Red Bull.

    Does it matter if you say it in a different language?

    -John

  56. Ed says:

    I’ve never had a Red Bull. But I thought I’d try one someday. Now I can scratch that “To Do” item off the list as not necessary. I’d like to try a Golden Ox though. I’ll be watching in So. California stores.

  57. Rob Haynes says:

    Hey Red Bull
    Even my 9 year old thinks you are out of your mind. So you are loosing the next generation of customers as well. Grow up
    I support Old Ox Brewery..

  58. Faron says:

    So I sit here reading about all of this, while enjoying my ecig with a flavor called “Energy Cow” This flavor is not unlike cherry robotussin, but in that unique red-bull way. Needless to say, this flavor actually got me to quit regular cigarettes. I wonder if the lawyers are away of this product at all? At the bar, I’m known to tip back a few Red Bull and Vodkas. That ends today. It’s Rockstar and Vodka. Unless they are trying to sue the makers of Grand Theft Auto, or actual rock stars.

    At some point, corporate lawyers are going to have to weigh the gains from pushing around the little guy against the PR backlash that follows. Fuck you Red Bull. Not only does that logo not look anything like the Red Bull logo, the name didn’t even relate to your product in any way. Hell, the logo for the Buffalo Bills looks more like your logo. Why not go pick a fight with the NFL, who has much deeper pockets. What pisses me off the most, is you think that me (admittedly a Red Bull drinker), will be so confused about the two products that I might be confused. The only thing confusing is why you would spend the time and energy (and money) on this. I think you may have had too many Red Bulls.

    Oh, and I’ve never even tasted the beer from these guys. I’d love to, don’t get me wrong, but don’t think that I’m some fanboy from the other team. I was a Red Bull guy.

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  63. Cassie says:

    Start a crowd sourcing site. Those of us that are diehard supporters of the craft beer industry will be happy to help you fight the ridiculous corporate nonsense. This isn’t the kind of thing you should be spending money on. You could even offer a kickstarter-style benefit: support your legal fight and when you win (which you will because this is absurd) those who contributed get a very limited release beer brewed just for this.

  64. Sheryl says:

    How offensive is it that they are insulting the intelligence of everyone on the planet? We cannot tell the difference between Redbull and a micro craft beer? Wow! As someone with a degree in graphic design I’m in aw of where the two are suppose to be close in design or a sales market. Just wow!

  65. Pingback: Trademark dispute: Red Bull fights 'ox' in Old Ox Brewery

  66. Michele says:

    Anyone that know the area knows Old Ox is a road and as you explain on your website a tie to agriculture and the history of Northern VA. Obviously you had no intentions of trying to piggyback or infringe on the bovine trademark. I had no idea Red Bull was so lame. I prefer a beer to a energy drink but should I want an energy drink I will be picking one of the other dozens and dozens that have tried to steal some of Red Bull’s profits.

  67. There is creative licensing for parodies!! You could call it No Bull Red Ale!!

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  69. Pingback: Mess With The Bull and Get the Horns – Red Bull Vs. Old Ox Brewery | PDT

  70. JW says:

    Horrible. I am going to make it a point to spread this behavior to everyone I see drinking Red Bull in DC. I know lots that do, but this may change.

  71. Chris Kraft says:

    Can’t wait to try Old Ox’s new Beer flavor Frivolous Red!

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