St. Louis pub owner sends sarcastic letter to Starbucks over Frappuccino beer flap

A dispute is brewing between Starbucks and a small brewery outside of St. Louis.

The brewer makes a beer with a name similar to a popular Starbucks drink.

The coffee giant reportedly sent the Cottleville, Mo., business a cease and desist letter.

But the owner decided to get back in a frothy note.

"I'm a little tiny business in a little tiny town, making little batches of beer," Exit 6 Brewery owner Jeff Britton said.

That's why Britton couldn't really believe when he received a letter from Starbucks.

It was in response to chatter on a social media site about a beer called "Frappiccino."

The letter says, in part: "As you probably know, Starbucks coffee is the owner of a number of trademarks, including the well-known Frappuccino trademark."

It goes on to ask him to stop using any labels similar to that word.

"When I got that letter, I had to laugh," Britton said.

Exit 6 doesn't even serve a beer called "Frappiccino."

So, Jeff got an idea: Write Starbucks back.

In his letter, he assured them he'd changed his brew's name to "The f'word" to make sure he wasn't violating copyright law.

It also goes on to say: "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."

Then he included a check for $6 -- It's how much he said he would have made from the three people who say they drank "Frappiccino" beer.

The letter goes on to say: "We just want to help a business like Starbucks. Us small business owners need to stick together."

While the note is quite sarcastic, Britton said it was just a joke.

"I don't fault Starbucks. I'm not mad. I'm not going to fight them. Hell, I don't have the money or resources to fight them, much less the desire," he said. "I understand completely where they're coming from."

But, he says he probably won't be buying Starbucks coffee any time soon.

"No. I drink beer. Not coffee."

Starbucks released the following comment:

"This was a respectful request asking Exit 6 Pub and Brewery to refrain from using the term 'Frappiccino,' which differs by only one letter from our Frappuccino product. Like many businesses, trademark law requires companies to consistently protect their brand. We appreciate Exit 6 Pub and Brewery respecting our request to stop using the term 'Frappicccino' to avoid any confusion among customers."