Vodka And Fake Red Bull

Coke may be the real thing, but Red Bull is making its own authenticity case in courtrooms across the land.
From Iowa City Press-Citizen:

The distributor of the energy drink Red Bull has filed a lawsuit against an Iowa City bar for mixing cocktails with an imitation, but failing to tell customers who specifically ordered drinks with the popular beverage.
Red Bull North America Inc. filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court, accusing the Sports Column, a popular bar in downtown Iowa City, of trademark infringement.
The beverage company claims Sports Column bartenders lied repeatedly when customers asked whether their drinks were mixed with Red Bull. Instead, the lawsuit claims the customers were served Roaring Lion, an imitation described as a cheaper product designed to tap Red Bull’s market share.
The lawsuit is similar to others filed across the nation as Red Bull seeks to protect its market and label.
“They seem to be trying to make an example out of me,” said Brett Sawyer, the owner of the Sports Column.

Roaring Lion’s tagline is “FLY TWICE AS HiiiGH.” A spirits brand could never make a claim like that due to legal restrictions. But that aside, the thing I find interesting here is the retailer, at least in the case above, has no use for such product claims, because the beverage is being passed off as Red Bull.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. You’ve got to give the bar owner or manager credit for his keen insight into what’s going on:
    “”They seem to be trying to make an example out of me,” said Brett Sawyer, the owner of the Sports Column.”
    That’s right, Brett!
    Not to get all chatty but I just saw at a local bar a contraption that was set up to offer shots of jagermeister and, if wanted, red bull. Honestly, they’re both so awful tasting that I guess the combination couldn’t be much worse. But I thought it was a really cool idea and setup.

  2. Red Bull Is not made in the USA (fact)
    I think Roaring lion taste as good if not better the red bull.Roaring lion is made in the US and cost less.

  3. David E says:

    Hey, trademark infringement is against the law. When I ran bars I always used Coke in the gun so I could legally sell rum and Cokes. I could have used RC Cola for half price. No difference.
    The knock-off culture- from handbags to DVd’s, is all a bad idea. It destroys the incentive for people to originate good products. It’s the same thing stealing downloads. If musicians can’t make money off their product, they will stop recording. Newspapers will all go out of business since news content is available for free on line. This is “killing the goose that lays the golden egg.” Soon the only news content will be from the Joseph Goebbels News Agency. it’s almost that bad already. So, I didn’t mean to stray from the topic, the Red Bull. Personally I despise Red Bull, and wouldn’t drink it. Still, they deserve protection. I do think a half-million bucks is over kill. But, if you’re going to cheat, Mr. B. Sawyer, you have to be willing to get caught. Do you cheat on your ASCAP fees as well? Sell stingray for scallops? Call generic cranberry juice Ocean Spray? Make pork scallopine and call it veal? Withhold your employee’s overtime pay? Lock your fire escape doors? Sell booze to minors? Bribe your health inspector? Z out the register an hour before closing? Cheat on your taxes? Dishonesty comes is all shapes and sizes.