Brewery changes beer to ‘The FWord’ to avoid battle with Starbucks
COTTLEVILLE, Mo. (CNN) – A dispute is brewing between Starbucks and a small Missouri brewery.
‘Exit 6’ makes a beer with a name similar to a popular Starbucks drink and the coffee giant reportedly sent the business a cease and desist letter.
So, the owner decided to send a note back.
Jeff Britton, the owner of Exit 6, said, “I’m a little tiny business in a little tiny town, making little batches of beer.”
That’s why he couldn’t believe it when he received a letter from Starbucks in response to his beer called ‘Frappiccino.’
The letter stated, “As you probably know, Starbucks Coffee is the owner of a number of trademarks, including the well-known Frappuccino trademark.”
It goes on to ask him to stop using any labels similar to that word.
Britton said, “When I got that letter, I had to laugh.”
Especially since Exit 6 doesn’t serve a beer called ‘Frappiccino.’
He decided to write Starbucks back.
In his letter, he assured them that he had changed his brew’s name to ‘The FWord’ to make sure he wasn’t violating copyright law.
It read, “We never thought that our beer-drinking customers would have thought that the alcoholic beverage coming out of the tap would have actually been coffee from one of the many, many, many stores located a few blocks away.”
He included a check for $6, how much he said he would have made from the three people on a social networking site that said they drank the ‘Frappiccino’ beer.
The letter said, “We just want to help a business like Starbucks. Us small business owners need to stick together.”
While the note is sarcastic, Britton says it was just a joke.
He said, “I don’t fault Starbucks. I’m not mad. I’m not going to fight them. Hell, I don’t have the money or resources to fight them, much less the desire, you know, I understand completely where they’re coming from.”
At the same time, he says he probably won’t be buying Starbucks coffee any time soon.
He said, “No. I drink beer, not coffee.”
KSDK received the following statement, “This was a respectful request asking Exit 6 Pub and Brewery to refrain from using the term ‘Frappiccino,’ which differs by only one letter from our Frappuccino product. Like many businesses, trademark law requires companies to consistently protect their brand. We appreciate Exit 6 Pub and Brewery respecting our request to stop using the term ‘Frappiccino’ to avoid any confusion among customers.”