Local Brewery Has Starbucks Frothing Over Stout's Name

The giant coffee chain sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Missouri. Starbucks told the pub to stop referring to one of its dark, frothy beers as "the frappicino." Starbucks noted it sounds a lot like its trademarked frozen coffee drink.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now to today's Last Word In Business, which is another F word. This one? Frappuccino.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is really a David and Goliath tale. Lawyers representing Starbucks wrote a cease-and-desist letter to the Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Cottleville, Mo., population 3,500.

MONTAGNE: In the letter, the giant coffee chain told the owner of the pub to stop referring to one of its dark, frothy beers as the Frappicino, noting that it sounds an awfully lot like Starbucks' trademarked frozen-coffee drink.

GREENE: Lacking a legal team of his own, the Exit 6 owner opted for a sarcasm defense. In a very tongue-in-cheek reply to Starbucks, Jeff Briton expressed surprise that his customers would order a beer thinking they were getting a chilled coffee.

MONTAGNE: But he wrote that from now on, he would only refer to his beer as the F-word, to avoid the risk of lawsuits. And he included with his letter a check for $6, which he said should cover any profits made from the three beers they sold under the trademarked name.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

GREENE: And I'm David Greene.

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