Brewery minnow Wayward triumphs in naming battle with global giant SABMiller’s Haywards

Some of the beers brewed by Wayward

Some of the beers brewed by Wayward

A tiny family-run brewery is free to carry on trading under its current name after winning a two-year trademark battle against SABMiller India, a subsidiary of Carlton and United Breweries parent company SABMiller.

The global giant took action after executives felt Sydney-based startup Wayward Brewing, which produces craft ale, was too similar in name to its Indian-brewed Haywards 2000 and Haywards 5000 beer.

But a Trade Mark hearing came down in favour of the brewing minnow, agreeing with Wayward’s argument that Haywards was virtually unknown in Australia and that the names were sufficiently different.

Jubilant Peter Philip, who founded Wayward  two years ago, told Mumbrella it had been a “long and stressful road”.

“Maybe they thought we would roll over but we always felt we were in the right,” he said. “It was a ridiculous situation of a large company trying to flex its muscles.”

Despite the success and the awards of costs, Philip estimated he would be around $20,000 out of pocket.

Lawyers acting for SABMiller argued that Wayward could have traded off the reputation and familiarity of the Haywards brands and “deceived and confused” Australian drinkers into thinking they were buying Haywards beer. The company added that it controlled 40 per cent of the beer market in Australia.

But in its ruling, the Trade Marks Office agreed with Wayward that Haywards was virtually unknown in Australia and accounted for a miniscule amount of the local beer market.

It meant that an Indian beer category was “unknown to Australian beer drinkers” and that Haywards 5000 and Haywards 2000 “cannot be considered to have any significant reputations in Australia, much less considered well-known.”

Kirov also concluded that even if Haywards had a favourable reputation in Australia, the names were sufficiently different that drinkers would not be confused.

Philip said it was a “great feeling” to be vindicated.

“But it has cost us a lot of time, money and stress wondering whether this massive global brewer was going to force us to change our brand and start all over again with a new name,” he said.

Wayward has been producing its ales, which include Charmer India Red Ale, Devil’s Advocate and Lilliput “Tiny” IPA, at craft breweries around Sydney but will open its own brewery in Camperdown in January.

SABMiller has not responded to Mumbrella’s request for comment at the time of publication.

Steve Jones


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.