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America's Largest Hard Seltzer Brand Is Suing a Small Business

It's not pleased with this apparent trademark infringement.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

If you're a lover of the planet and hard seltzer, this story's one you've got to read. TMZ has reported that the most-purchased seltzer brand in the country is going after a small business for a controversial reason.

Mark Anthony Brands International, the company that makes White Claw hard seltzer, has filed a lawsuit against a small, online novelty retailer called Fun Club, LLC. Fun Club, based in California, sells vanity items and tchotchkes like kitchen accessories, balloons, and some apparel.

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The Fun Club products making headlines, however, are its candles. The shop's candle selection offers some hilarious gifting choices, with such scents as "Your House Smells Like Dog" and "Set the Damn Mood." Until very recently, Fun Club also sold candles with wax that had been poured inside White Claw cans—a product that White Claw's parent company is calling an act of trademark infringement.

The owners of White Claw, which is the top-selling hard seltzer in the U.S. with a reported 50% of the market share, claim their concern is for consumers' safety. TMZ says White Claw believes that "if an improperly labeled, insufficiently insulated, or defectively manufactured candle with its logo ends up burning someone or causing a fire … all of its hard-earned goodwill could be destroyed in an instant."

assorted white claw hard seltzer cans
White Claw

TMZ also says White Claw is "asking the court to block sale of the candles and force the defendants to fork over any of the profits they've made off the White Claw brand."

Fun Club, LLC owner Caitlin Minges, who says she founded her store in 2015, noted that she had only learned of the lawsuit when TMZ reached out, and that she'd previously stopped selling the candles when White Claw had first sent her a cease and desist letter.

In response, Minges commented to TMZ:

"It is unfortunate that White Claw dislikes recycling and is using its enormous resources as a massive company to go after small women owned businesses who are attempting to make something functional out of their garbage."

Mark Anthony Brands International did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more