Mess with the Bull…

Moondoggies in PB has been found in contempt of court for substituting generic energy drinks for Red Bull without telling patrons who order the beverage by its brand name. “This is the second time that Red Bull has caught the bar passing off,” according to a statement released by Red Bull North America, Inc.

The drink manufacturer filed a federal lawsuit against Moondoggies in 2003, obtaining a permanent injunction to prevent the bar from further violations of this sort. Moondoggies paid $50,000 to settle the case, but the new contempt-of-court finding comes with accusations that the bar violated the injunction by continuing to substitute generic drinks.

“In May 2007 and July 2007,” according to the beverage makers, “Red Bull investigators discovered that Moondoggies was again passing off. Red Bull immediately asked the court to hold Moondoggies in contempt for violation of the permanent injunction.”

Joe Vaught, who runs San Diego’s Tavern at the Beach and the Sandbar Sports Grill, says, “There are so many knockoff products trying to mimic Red Bull’s success and [vendors] approaching our managers to switch by opening up their wallets or offering their product at a lower cost. I’m sure many bar owners have been tempted to pass off cheaper products as premium brands to reduce their costs, but no one is ordering the other products by name.”

“Consumers are encouraged to demand the can of Red Bull with their drink as proof that they are not being deceived,” says Chad Peffer, Red Bull’s vice president of North American sales. “The best way to distinguish Red Bull from alternative products is the packaging. Red Bull is sold exclusively in its unique blue-and-silver can; it is never shot out of a beverage-dispenser gun.”

Red Bull says it settled similar lawsuits against Dicey Riley’s in Florida for $75,000 and the Houston-based Tavern for $150,000. Most recently, a judgment against Wet nightclub in Chicago amounted to $679,827.

Moondoggies’ managers did not respond to requests for comment before press time.

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