Liqueur Brand Kahlua Suing Jewish Distributor Over Kosher Copycat Drink
The producer of popular coffee-flavored liqueur Kahlua is suing an Orthodox Jewish drinks distributor in Brooklyn for selling a kosher knock-off of their famous brand, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.
Kahlua’s parent company Absolut Co. filed a federal lawsuit in Brooklyn claiming that Happy Hearts Wine has been selling its own product, named Kahfua, at kosher stores.
The lawsuit accuses Kahfua of dilution, infringement and unfair competition, and trademark counterfeiting, according to the magazine The Spirits Business.
The Swedish vodka company demanded Kahfua be pulled from shelves immediately.
“Defendant’s counterfeit Kahfua product is virtually identical to and substantially indistinguishable from the genuine Kahlua coffee liqueur product,” according to the lawsuit.
“There can be no credible argument that defendant’s copying was not intended to capitalize on the fame and equity of [the] Kahlua brand, and to trick consumers into purchasing defendant’s inferior competing product.”
Despite the names being one letter apart, the labeling on both liqueurs is almost identical in terms of logo design and choice of coloring.
A man who answered the phone at Happy Wines would not comment on the lawsuit, the New York Post reported. However, he told the publication that Kahfua is in demand in the Jewish community as an alternative to Kahlua, which is not Kosher and therefore does not conform to Jewish dietary restrictions.
Orthodox Jewish employees at Liquors Galore in Midwood, Brooklyn on Tuesday praised Kahfua after a Post reporter purchased a bottle and asked if they also stocked Kahlua.
“Kahfua is much better. The taste cannot compare,” said one employee. His partner added, “Kahlua is a coffee liqueur. Kahfua is espresso. They’re totally different.”
The Liquors Galore workers also disputed similarities in the labeling and logo designs of both liquors. They argued that the fonts were completely different and one of them even insisted, “You’re clearly not looking at it.”