Beer Behemoth’s British Bid to Barricade ‘Bud’ Brand Bombs

18 February 2003

St Louis-headquartered conglomerate Anheuser-Busch, whose activities include the brewing of famed US beers Budweiser and Bud Light, failed on Monday to prevent the use of the name ‘Bud’ in the UK by Czech state-owned brewery Budejovicky Budvar.

The UK’s highest court, the House of Lords, ruled yesterday that A-B’s long-running battle to protect the name in Britain – its largest market outside the US – was invalid. The Law Lords also denied the US company further opportunity pursue the case in British courts, although it gave no public reason for this restriction.

The decision is a serious blow to A-B which appealed to the House of Lords to overturn earlier findings by UK courts in favour of the Czech brewer based in Ceske Budejovice – the German name for which is Budweis – a city claimed to be the original home of Budweiser beer.

The ruling is the first setback encountered by the St Louis brewer which has successfully prevented its Czech rival’s use of Bud’s name in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and Spain.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff