Stone Brewing, a craft brewery, has gone to the U.S. District Court of California to argue that MillerCoors, beer conglomerate powerhouse behind Keystone Light, caused financial damage to the much-smaller business through MillerCoors’ rebranding. Mercury News reports the trial, which kicked off this week, is expected to last about three weeks.
There’s plenty of history leading up to this legal duel of tipsy David and Goliath: Stone Brewing, founded in 1996, has positioned itself in the market as an anti-big beer business, flourishing off products like its Arrogant Bastard line. But according to the Mercury News, MillerCoors applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office twice to trademark “Stone” and the slogan “Hold My Stones,” though they were denied because of Stone Brewing’s pre-existing trademark.
Then MillerCoors went ahead and rebranded anyways, and launched a marketing campaign titled “Own the Stone,” which the San Jose brewery argues was “taunting Stone about the intentional misappropriation of its brand name.” MillerCoors argues the packaging and marketing are different enough that customers can’t be confused, but after the rebrand sales of Keystone Light went up while Stone Brewing’s sales went down, the Mercury News reports. [Mercury News]
Sunset District shop now serving fruit and espresso concoctions
In China, consumers are flocking to shops for boba tea-like drinks made with coffee and chunks of fruit. Now, two Bay Area entrepreneurs, Amy Kuang and Heng Qiu, think Californians may enjoy something similar. The Chronicle writes that Not Latte, at the corner of Irving Street and 23rd Avenue, is mashing up fruit at the counter and pouring in shots of Seattle’s Cafe Umbria espresso. So far, customers love the combinations, Qiu says – as coffee drinkers around the world have for some time. [Chronicle]
Depression-era Berkeley grocery store turns 100
Reaching octogenarian status is hard enough, but imagine pulling it off as a business in the Bay Area. Berkeley’s Star Grocery has just done that, Nosh writes, under the ownership of second-generation owner Nick Pappas. His father, Jim Pappas, opened the shop with his brother, also named Nick, in 1922. [Berkeleyside]
Future-facing taqueria is the Mexican Impossible Foods of Oakland
To eat at Taqueria La Venganza, owned and operated by Raul Medinas, is to eat at a business stuffed to the brim with aspiration. KQED writes that Medinas dreams of serving vegan carne asada tasty enough to transcend the current plant-based offerings. “I don’t want them to do ‘Beyond Asada’ or ‘Impossible Asada,’ and then suddenly we’re eating some other corporate shit,” Medinas says. [KQED]
Nothing funny about Bay Area grocery startup’s millions of investment dollars
Weee!, a Fremont-based grocery delivery startup, may have a silly name, but it’s raised $425 million dollars in its Series E Round, making it one of the biggest in its sector of all time. The San Francisco Business Times reports this puts the SoftBank-loved company behind only Instacart ($871 million) in initial investments. [SF Business Times]