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Friday, 23 April 2004


Following his blog on the subject of 17 February 2004, the IPKat was interested to read in The Scotsman that Scottish Courage, the brewers of Newcastle Brown Ale, are definitely going to switch production from Newcastle across the River Tyne to Gateshead. The move will lead to the loss of 110 jobs, but major cost savings are predicted. The changeover raises a tricky legal problem though. Scottish Courage has obtained protection of the term NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE as a geographical indication under EU legislation. Ordinarily, this would stop it from using the name if the product was produced anywhere else. However, Scottish Courage has said it will apply to the EU to have the PGI revoked and foresees no problems with this because it is the only producer of NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE.

The IPKat isn’t sure about this reasoning. PGIs are not meant to be personal property rights, so he’s not sure that they should be revoked at the whim of a single producer. It would in theory be open to other producers to start brewing ale according to the same method in Newcastle, though he notes that NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE is a registered trade mark.

More Scottish courage here, here and here
Gateshead’s beer credentials here and here

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