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Brewery responds to Starbucks letter with $6 check

By Jim Salter

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:30 a.m. HST, Jan 01, 2014

ST. LOUIS » A small Missouri brewery has responded to a cease and desist letter from Starbucks by sending the coffee chain a check to cover what it calls the profit from use of the word "Frappicino" — a check for $6.

Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in the St. Louis suburb of Cottleville named one of its brews the Frappicino, with one c instead of the two that Starbucks uses for its blended beverages. That prompted an attorney for Starbucks Coffee Co. to send Exit 6 a letter on Dec. 9.

The letter from attorney Anessa Owen Kramer noted that the Seattle-based company "is the owner of a number of world-famous trademarks, including the well-known FRAPPUCCINO trademark." It said that the words are "phonetically identical" and that Exit 6's use of Frappicino "is likely to cause confusion, mistake."

In his sarcastic response letter, Exit 6 owner Jeff Britton also wrote that the brewery "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."

Exit 6 posted the letter on its Facebook site and responded with a letter to "Mr. Bucks." The letter said Exit 6 would no longer use the term "Frappicino" and would instead refer to its beer as the "F Word."

Britton said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he brewed up a new batch of "The F Word" last Friday. By then, the dispute was already drawing attention on social media, and the beer sold out in three hours. He's contemplating making more, based on the calls, emails and Facebook messages of support he said he's received from around the world.

"It's been unbelievable," Britton said. "People are just saying, 'Hey, read the story, good job.' I'm getting emails and Facebook messages from Germany, China, England. People are just clamoring for it."

Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper said the company was glad the brewery agreed to stop using the name.

"This was a respectful request asking Exit 6 to refrain from using the term 'Frappicino,' which differs by only one letter from our 'Frappucino' product," she said by telephone.

"We always prefer to resolve trademark disputes informally and amicably, and we appreciate them respecting our request to avoid confusion among customers."

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Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Differs by two letters "ucc" v " ic", and are different products, coffee v beer; sbux should back off.
on January 1,2014 | 12:35AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Maybe I'll start a business selling Chip Pacs (Zip Pacs), or quata poundas (quarter pounders).
on January 1,2014 | 03:51AM
eoe wrote:
Maybe you should
on January 1,2014 | 04:14AM
bekwell wrote:
That's funny.
on January 2,2014 | 03:07AM
miss_laulau wrote:
I wonder if Starbucks cashed that $6 check?
on January 1,2014 | 04:47AM
ISCREAM wrote:
Starbux sux anyway...what is the old saying...friends don't let friends go to starbux! $.75 of every dollar spent their goes to the mainland...and they pay their people junk anyway.
on January 1,2014 | 06:34AM
Ronin006 wrote:
You have to give Starbucks a lot of credit for one thing, and that is its marketing. Starbucks is able to sell a cup of coffee, the ingredients of which cost about 10 cents, and sell it for more than $2 for the regular stuff and twice as much for coffee with fancy names, and customers willingly line up to buy it without complaining. It is remarkable.
on January 1,2014 | 08:12AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
One letter is a problem? How about we change the "B" in Starbucks to an "F'? That would be appropriate. One could use a "PH" if preferred.
on January 1,2014 | 08:18AM
copperwire9 wrote:
*That's* funny.
on January 1,2014 | 08:53AM
Anonymous wrote:
Starbucks should be required to label all their products "Contains no Alcohol" given the possibility their customers may confuse their coffee products with beer.
on January 1,2014 | 09:11AM
Ronin006 wrote:
I tried repeatedly to comment here about this story, but my comment kept getting sent for approval, so I tried entering it under Letters to the Editor and BINGO, it made it. You have to wonder about the SA’s rules for online comments.
on January 1,2014 | 09:30AM
ShibaiDakine wrote:
"Parsing madness is a fools errand"---Dennis Miller
on January 1,2014 | 09:56AM
Anonymous wrote:
Have you ever noticed how comments "sent for approval" never get approved and posted? They just disappear into "ethereal space" and never appear in print. That's SA's way of dealing with controversial comments about their articles.
on January 1,2014 | 11:22AM
Ronin006 wrote:
OR about the people they support, like Obama.
on January 1,2014 | 02:40PM
droid wrote:
Nobama sucks.

Hey my comment didn’t get sent for approval. Guess I disproved your theory.
on January 2,2014 | 01:41AM
bekwell wrote:
They smoke your comments in the back room
on January 2,2014 | 03:09AM
beachbum11 wrote:
And about them. We need a new newspaper.
on January 2,2014 | 09:33AM
Slow wrote:
A friend owns two successful Oahu coffee shops. He calls the coffee chain The Dark Star. They opened across the street and his shop thrived and expanded (Morning Brew in Kailua). We can support local merchants if we want to.
on January 1,2014 | 09:47AM
bekwell wrote:
Right on Slow. Plenty local coffee shops.
on January 2,2014 | 03:09AM
sailfish1 wrote:
Looks like most posters here don't like Starbucks. It figures since a lot of posters here don't like laws and rules either.
on January 1,2014 | 09:50PM
onevoice82 wrote:
I love Starbucks! They single handedly changed he coffee drinking habits of the entire country and brought us in line with Europe that have been using Esspresso machines for decades! Starbucks coffees are consistent, fresh and innovative and you can be sure that whatever part of the world you are traveling in, you will get the same great cup of coffee served to you with a smile even after asking for it with 5 different change orders! No, I do not work for starbucks or own stock in it......
on January 2,2014 | 04:32AM
mrluke wrote:
Thanks, Mrs. Bucks!
on January 2,2014 | 07:35AM
mrluke wrote:
7-11 coffee is just as good, and costs half as much. No, I don't work for, or own stock in 7-11. :-)
on January 2,2014 | 07:37AM
mrluke wrote:
I sure am glad that we're finally in line with the coffee drinking habits of the Europeans. I wouldn't want us to be considered un-hip. Nothing like paying $7 for a cup of coffee to stay trendy!!
on January 2,2014 | 07:42AM
primo1 wrote:
I'm guessing in Europe they take 5 minutes to order their coffee too.
on January 2,2014 | 08:02AM
primo1 wrote:
How does it figure? If you don't like overpriced coffee then that makes you a lawless renegade?
on January 2,2014 | 08:10AM
Aquarius1 wrote:
Not a fan of Starbucks coffee. Too bitter. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has better tasting coffee.
on January 2,2014 | 06:30AM
primo1 wrote:
The brewery owner should thank Starbucks for making him change the name of the beer. "F Word" sounds far more intriguing (and is more marketable) than "Frappicino".
on January 2,2014 | 08:00AM
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