Brewery issued with warning letter from Mars over the name of its chocolate beer
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Durham-based S43, part of the Tavistock Hospitality group which runs the Roker Hotel and Poetic License distillery in Sunderland, received a letter from Mars for their You’re Not You When You’re Thirsty peanut butter and fudge stout.
The name and design of the can was a deliberate play on the Snickers ad, which uses the slogan You’re Not You When You’re Hungry, but Mars, which owns the chocolate bar brand, did not see the funny side.
The letter asks S43 to stop selling the stout under that name, so that it doesn’t reach the next stage of legal action. However, Tavistock has got around the legal issue by re-branding the sweet stout as The One We Can’t Talk About.
In the letter the representative for Mars writes: “We appreciate your enthusiasm for our SNICKERS brand and recognise that you may not have intended to harm Mars, but in order to preserve the significant investment we have made in protecting the strength and goodwill of our intellectual property, we must ensure that our intellectual property is not misused by others.
“In this case, we believe you calling your product ‘You’re Not You When You’re Thirsty’ and using a highly similar Parallelogram Design, font and colours, creates a false association with our SNICKERS brand which is not only capable of creating confusion in the marketplace, but also of taking unfair advantage of the repute and distinctiveness of our SNICKERS trade marks.”
The letter stresses the brand would like to resolve the issue amicably, but requested they stop selling the beer within 15 days of receipt of the email. In reference to the current situation affecting businesses, the brand did say that if there was a large amount of stock remaining they would be amenable to granting Tavistock a reasonable sell-off period.
With their portfolio of venues and bars closed during lockdown, beer production at the brewery in Coxhoe and the gin distillery in Sunderland, has been a way for Tavistock to keep trading.
Operations director Jonathan Graham said: “It’s flattering really to be noticed by a brand as big as that and is a bit of a David and Goliath story. We were inspired by the Snickers ad, but it’s not like anyone would confuse the two brands.
“We started selling the stout about six weeks ago and it was really popular online, so we’re just going to re-brand it so people don’t miss out.”
He added: “The brewery has gone from strength to strength in lockdown and we can’t make the cans fast enough, but as 80 per cent of our business is usually to the pub trade it is a difficult time.”
S43 brewery is known for the tongue-in-cheek names of its brews, with its most recent drinks called Bean Me Up, Stouty; Wu-Tangy Clan; The Dank Knight and Trippin’ on Simcoe.
The Echo has contacted Mars for comment.