Starbucks Sends Cease and Desist Letter to Bar for “F Word” Beer, Owner Sends Back $6 Check and This…

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 30 2013 8:14 PM

Starbucks Sends Cease and Desist Letter to Bar for “F Word” Beer, Owner Sends Back $6 Check and This Letter

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A waitress takes a coffee and a beer to a table, try not to confuse the two.

Photo by RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images

If you don’t know where Cottleville, Missouri is you’re probably not alone. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s out of reach from the long arm of the man. The proverbial man, in this case, is coffee behemoth Starbucks. The little guy: Cottleville’s own Exit 6 Pub and Brewery.

Most people, given it’s the holiday season, have probably been consumed with general merriment and cheer, but not Starbucks. Starbucks is watching. And, somewhat miraculously, came across the fact that Exit 6 was serving a stout called “Frappicino.” As Starbucks’ somewhat exhausted sounding cease and desist letter to the owner earlier this month points out: “As you probably know, Starbucks Coffee Co. is the owner of a number of world-famous trademarks, including the well-known FRAPPUCCINO trademark.” You can probably see where this is going. The letter goes on to point out that “Frappicino” and “Frappuccino” are spelled, you know, almost the same way and Starbucks is, of course, worried that patrons of Cottleville’s finest might get confused and think they were actually in a Starbucks.

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In response, Exit 6 owner Jeff Britton, penned a perfectly sarcastic response. “I am writing in response to your letter dated 12/9/13 in regards to the ‘Frappuccino’ (at risk of further lawsuits, heretofore known as ‘The F Word’) beer listed on Untapped. As you probably don’t know, Exit 6 is the proud owner of no trademarks including our own name much less than the name ‘F Word’ and nothing about Exit 6 is incontestable,” the letter reads.

You can check out Britton’s full letter yourself, but here are a few more highlights.

“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. I guess that with there being a Starbucks on every corner of every block in every city that some people may think they could get a Starbucks at a local bar. So that was our mistake.”

The faux apology ends with Britton writing a $6 check to refund Starbucks for the three beers it had sold using, ahem, the “F Word.” And with a final flourish Britton asks: “PS – Can we name the beer Phrappaccino?"

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.