Local brewer's response to Starbucks cease-and-desist goes brewer's response to Starbucks cease-and-desist goes ... response to a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys for Starbucks has become a ... of the law firm's letter as well as his reply on Exit 6's ...

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A logo sits on display in a window of a Starbucks Corp. store in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

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Facebook Twitter Email Print Save Starbucks Local brewer's response to Starbucks cease-and-desist goes viral By Ian Froeb ifroeb@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8348 Dec 31, 2013 (…) Facebook Twitter Email Subscribe for 99 cents

A logo sits on display in a window of a Starbucks Corp. store in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

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A local craft brewery's tongue-in-cheek response to a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys for Starbucks has become a viral sensation, with mentions on NPR's "Morning Edition" radio program and the website Gawker.

"It's just been insane," says Jeff Britton, owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Cottleville.

The story began in early December, when Britton received a letter from a law firm that represents Starbucks in trademark disputes. The coffee giant had learned that three users of Untappd, a social-media app for beer fans, had "checked in" to (that is, drank) an Exit 6 beer called Frappicino.

This name, the law firm noted in its letter, was "phonetically identical" to Starbucks' trademarked frozen drink Frappuccino. The letter ended with a stern "request" that Britton cease using the name Frappicino.

In fact, Exit 6 doesn't make a beer called Frappicino. The name refers to a combination of pours of the brewery's Vanilla Cream Ale and a Founders Brewing Co. beer.

On Dec. 26, Britton posted photos of the law firm's letter as well as his reply on Exit 6's Facebook page. Calling the beer in question the "F Word" instead of Frappicino to avoid the "risk of further lawsuits," Britton wrote, "...we meant no deception, confusion, or mistaking in the naming of the beer the F Word. 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."

Britton continued, "We are bad people. We feel shame."

In addition to promising not to use the F Word any more, Britton enclosed a check for $6, which he claimed was the profit made from the beers that the three Untappd users had drunk.

"We realize Mr Bucks paid [the lawyer] more than Exit 6 made last year," he wrote. "We just want to help a business like Starbucks. Us small business owners need to stick together."

Britton has yet to hear from Starbucks or the law firm that contacted him on the company's behalf. Meanwhile, the media storm shows no signs of slowing down. He will appear via satellite on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" on Thursday morning, and he continues to field phone calls from TV networks, newspapers, magazines and "so many damn blogs."

The question every one, including this reporter, asks: Has Starbucks cashed the check yet?

"Not at this time," Britton reports.

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