Brewery gets legal letter from Starbucks over beer name


CITY Starbucks

Starbucks was incensed when a small Missouri brewery started selling a beer which its patrons called a Frappicino. It sent a lawyer's letter to the company, claiming that they could be confusing customers, and demanding that they change the name of the beer.

The company responded by sending a cheque for $6 and a sarcastic reply which has hit social media.

The beer

According to, The Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Cottleville, Missouri, was serving a beer that its patrons called 'Frappicino'. ABC News confirmed that the beer had never been named that way, as it was a blend of two beers served by the bar. However, it was nicknamed by two drinkers on a website, which drew the attention of Starbucks.

The chain owns the FRAPUCCINO trademark, so decided to enforce it, by sending a 'cease and desist' legal letter. It said that the names were "phonetically identical" and that it "is likely to cause confusion, mistake."


The owner of the brewery replied in a letter of his own, enclosing a cheque for $6 and saying that he "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 added that the name would have been completely identical (and not spelled differently) if they had been better at spelling.

ABC reported that after the news hit social media, the bar added a drink called F Word to its menu - including coffee from a nearby chocolate bar. It sold out in three hours and is no longer available.

The bar's Facebook site has been inundated with requests to have the beer shipped across the US, and people saying they will be making a road trip to sample the creation. Others have bought Exit 6 T-Shirts, and posted hundreds of messages of support for the bar owner.

Not alone

However, this is not the only time when an organisation has enforced a trademark which other people might have assumed wasn't doing anyone any harm. Perhaps the oddest was two years ago, when the website advertised a fake product for April Fool's Day called "Canned Unicorn Meat", with the slogan "The New White Meat". The site was sent a letter by the National Pork Board for infringement of their slogan "The other white meat".