Mint brawls

Launch of Uncle Joe's Mint Ball vodka at Revolution Bar, King Street: Revolution Bar general manager Chris Coutanche, centre, with John, left, and Antony Winnard of Wm Santus & Co

Launch of Uncle Joe's Mint Ball vodka at Revolution Bar, King Street: Revolution Bar general manager Chris Coutanche, centre, with John, left, and Antony Winnard of Wm Santus & Co

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LEGAL battle lines are being drawn as a hooch version of Uncle Joe’s vodka hits the market.

Just weeks after sweet-makers William Santus gave the Wigan Revolution Bar exclusive rights to produce a cocktail drink using their famous Mint Balls, another bar has produced its own, unapproved version. Almost twice as strong as the original, it is made by pulverising the mints and shaking them up in a full-strength bottle of spirit.

The Boulevard in Wallgate said today that it thought that as the product (whose posters promoting the drink include the famous top-hatted Uncle Joe logo) is clearly labelled “home-made”, then proper distinctions had been made, and licence terms not breached.

Wigan Council’s trading standards unit said that it was investigating the legal ramifications of the new brew, as an application for trademark status on Revolution’s “official” drink is processed.

Santus chiefs say the rival drink’s appearance is “not fair” on their chosen business partner, and they, too, are taking solicitors’ advice on the matter.

Revolution Bar general manager Chris Coutanche, who went incognito to the Boulevard to see for himself, described the move as “very naughty.” The Uncle Joe’s drink has gone down a storm since its launch at Revolution last month, and is the result of two years of planning, negotiation and finessing at the parent company’s Ashton-under-Lyne distillery.

The Boulevard also admitted today that it had previously sold another drink flavoured with Santus’s Winter Nips.

Santus’s co-director Antony Winnard said: “We gave the Revolution Bar the sole rights to use the Uncle Joe’s name.

“That was after two years of talks, and playing around with the recipe.