Scots non-alcoholic brewery launches legal battle against Brewdog

SCOTLAND’S first non-alcoholic brewery Jump Ship Brewing has begun legal proceedings against BrewDog in an attempt to protect the name of one of its beers.

Jump Ship Brewing is run by Sonja Mitchell and launched the first edition of their Shore Leave beer in mid-2022.

The second version in the Shore Leave series, a sour beer fermented with berries, was released in May 2023.

Both versions of Shore Leave were shortlisted for a Scottish Beer Awards in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Jump Ship supplies around 240 stockists around the UK, including bars, pubs, restaurants, and shops

In July 2023, Mitchell discovered that BrewDog had shared an image of a soon to launch Shore Leave beer with the proposed tagline, ‘It’s time to jump ship.’

Despite communications with BrewDog, the multinational brewery and pub chain has not withdrawn its beer.

Mitchell has been unable to persuade the brewing giant to recognise the damage and confusion which Jump Ship says is being caused to the brand.

An offer of collaboration was rejected by Mitchell as they want to ensure a clear distance between the brands. 

Sonja Mitchell said: “I am incredibly disappointed that despite contacting BrewDog directly, I have been forced down the legal route to defend all that I and my team have built.

“We have put considerable investment into the development of our Shore Leave series of beers – from the creation of the beer itself to the branding, packaging and distribution.

“We cannot afford to lose that. Jump Ship has developed a steadfast reputation for great tasting beers with ethics at our heart and this is what we’re seeking to protect.

“At the point where BrewDog launched its beer, Jump Ship was the only brewer in the UK market with a beer called Shore Leave in production.

“The basis of our claim is that BrewDog’s actions cause a risk of confusion amongst our stockists and drinkers and this causes financial harm to our brand.

“This is a period of exciting and positive growth for Jump Ship with growing sales in the UK and beyond and this matter is one we’re keen to clear up.”

Jump Ship first began production in December 2019 and has created a range of six non-alcoholic beer and lagers, all with nautical names including Shore Leave. 

The brewery has gone on to win awards in the UK and internationally, including best No and Low Alcohol Lager in the World Beer Awards 2021.

In 2022, Mitchell launched an equity-based crowdfunding campaign that attracted investment of £366,000, exceeding its target of £280,000 in just two days.

The funding is supporting the build of a new brewery at Rosemains Steadings near Pathhead, Midlothian.

The growing business has also seen its number of employees rise with the appointment of a new full-time brewer, marketing manager and head of sales in recent months.

Sonja Mitchell, a keen sailor, beer-lover and mother of three, decided to jump ship from her marketing job to launch her business.

The idea behind Jump Ship was born in December 2019 out of a love of beer but a horror of hangovers.

Keen to enable more people to enjoy great beer without the booze, Sonja set out to discover if she could produce a world-class alcohol-free beer in Scotland.

Production so far has taken place in West Lothian but this year will see the opening of Jump Ship’s first standalone brewery.

Jump Ship Brewing donates at least 10% of the profits to a variety of charities, which are nominated by Jump Ship’s customers or ‘ship mates’ as they are aptly named.