BrandChannel blog | Pusser’s Rum may need a drink to quell PR pain
Pusser’s Rum may have won its trademark battle, but it seems to be losing the war when it comes to public opinion – especially among bartenders.
According to The Lo-Down, the British Virgin Islands-based rum brand recently sued New York’s up-and-coming Painkiller Tiki Bar, saying that the name violated the company’s trademarks on the Painkiller cocktail, including a Painkiller cocktail mix in the works.
The case was settled in Pusser’s favour, and the bar is changing its name to PKNY, has agreed not to serve Painkillers unless they contain Pusser’s, and is relinquishing its www.painkillernyc.com domain name.
However, the lawsuit (and more broadly, the trademarking of cocktail names) does not sit well with the bartending community, which has organized a social media-driven boycott of the brand, including the Facebook site Bartenders and Cocktailians Against Pusser’s Rum (700 likes) and 100,000 Bartenders Who Won’t Buy Pusser’s Rum Again (450 likes).[more]
A lengthy explanation by Pusser’s Rum founder Charles Tobias seems to be doing little to quell the online storm of criticism, which has spilled over to snarky comments on Pusser’s Facebook site such as “You sued a bar so you could market a Painkiller COCKTAIL IN A CAN? What a great way to provoke us to never take your brand seriously.”
Ouch. That’s gotta hurt.