Ayrshire-based Brownings the Bakers will no longer serve Killie Pies at Kilmarnock FC, following a dispute over trademarks.
The award-winning Killie Pie (a steak and gravy offering), has been served at Rugby Park for Kilmarnock FC since 2003. But a new caterer is to be brought in next season, following a trade dispute.
In a statement, the football club said the decision to end the relationship with Brownings was related to the trademarking of the word Killie.
Brownings, makers of the pie (repeatedly named the best in the Scottish Professional Football League), angered the Ayrshire club’s board by applying to trademark the name.
The club responded by informing Brownings managing director John Gall that they would be severing their 13-year relationship with his firm on 31 May, at the end of the season.
Kilmarnock FC has also instructed trademark attorney Marks & Clerk to fight the Brownings bid to call the ‘Killie Pie’ their own.
The UK Intellectual Property Office, which rules over trademark disputes, could take up to a year to make a decision on the matter, meaning the Killie Pie name will disappear while the case rumbles on.
Gall, also president of trade association Scottish Bakers, said he would be withdrawing all sponsorship from the club and announced plans to rebrand the pie until the end of the legal dispute.
He told British Baker: “It’s disappointing for us. It came out of the blue a bit. The club served us a notice and said they’d be bringing the catering contract to an end when the season finishes.”
35 will lose jobs
He added that the decision would affect the business: “The Killie Pie is only about 5% of our revenue, but a lot of staff whom we employ on match days could be out of a job.”
Thirty-five staff will no longer be required by Brownings in the wake of the decision. The pie will now be named the Kilmarnock Pie, until a decision is made on the name Killie Pie, which Gall said could take up to a year.
He added: "It’s now a re-branding exercide that we’re being unfortunately forced to go through. Another local baker made pies that he called Killie Pies for one year before we took on the name. He stopped making them before we started, and we turned it into the award-winning pie that it is today."
Last month, the Scottish government backed mandatory fortification of flour, but industry association Scottish Bakers said folic acid was a medical issue, not a bakery one.