Press Clips: N.Y. Beverage Companies Battle Over Use of “Saratoga”, Trian Partners Unloads Stake in PepsiCo

28oz_natural-reflectN.Y. Beverage Companies Battle Over Use of “Saratoga”

Saratoga Spring Water Company has filed a petition to cancel the trademarked name of Saratoga Juice Bar claiming that its use of the word “Saratoga” could cause confusion among consumers and damages its water brand, according to Founded in 1872 and known for its cobalt blue glass bottles, Saratoga Spring Water Company also sent a cease-and-desist letter to Saratoga Juice Bar calling on it to stop marketing its cold-pressed juices and other products with the word “Saratoga.” The juice company was launched by Christel and Colin MacLean in 2013 and granted a trademark for its name in November, 2014. Both companies are based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

saratoga_detoxIn documents sent to the MacLeans, Saratoga Spring Water states that the juice company’s “use of the SARATOGA trademark in this manner, on goods substantially similar to those sold by Saratoga Spring Water, is likely to induce customers to believe that there is an association between your products and those of Saratoga Spring Water, and that “use of the SARATOGA trademark is therefore an infringement of our client’s trademark rights.”

In a press release, the MacLeans state that “we are a young start-up cold pressed juice company that has informed Saratoga Water through our attorney that we have absolutely no intention of encroaching on the space that Saratoga Water occupies in any way.” They note that “Saratoga Springs has long been a thriving hub of entrepreneurship with many companies trading on the name ‘Saratoga’ and its legacy of health, wellness, historical significance and world class Sportsmanship.” They further state that Saratoga Juice Company’s logo “features a pineapple and looks nothing like the Saratoga Water logos,” and that “our bottles are a completely different size and shape filled with fresh fruit and vegetables not water.”

Trian Partners Unloads Stake in PepsiCo

Trian Partners, the hedge fund helmed by activist investor Nelson Peltz, has sold its stake in PepsiCo, marking the end of a three-year investment in the cola giant. Trian, which owned over 18 million shares of PepsiCo, had unsuccessfully campaigned for a split of the company’s snack and beverage business, claiming the move would create greater value for shareholders. However, PepsiCo’s stock price has risen by approximately 30 percent in the past three years. In a statement to Bloomberg, Trian said that PepsiCo’s “management has increased productivity efforts, reduced overhead, increased advertising investment, and delivered consistent earnings growth on a constant currency basis.”

Judges Denies Request to Halt San Francisco Law Requiring Warning Messages on Ads for Sodas and Sugary Drinks

The American Beverage Association (ABA), an industry trade group, was recently denied a request for a preliminary injunction intended to curb a new law in San Francisco that requires warnings about potential health risks associated with consumption of soda and other sugary beverages on billboards and public advertisements. According to The Wall Street Journal, the ABA argued that the law violates free speech rights offered by the First Amendment. However, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled against the trade group, and said that the city “has a legitimate interest in public health and safety’’ and “a reasonable basis’’ warning consumers about sugar-sweetened beverages and ties to health-related problems, including obesity and diabetes. The law goes into effect July 25.


Mushroom-Infused Beverages — It’s A Thing

In a recent article entitled “The Next Beverage Trend Is… Mushrooms?” InStyle examined growing use of mushrooms in beverages. The fashion magazine noted Gwyneth Paltrow’s influence in promoting the nascent trend: the actress recently blogged about her use of Moon Juice’s Vanilla Mushroom Protein powder in morning breakfast shakes. Mushrooms are source of vitamin D and antioxidants, and “an effective substitute for meats if you’re looking to reduce daily calorie and fat intake, but still want to feel full and satisfied after the meal,” celebrity dietician Keri Glassman told InStyle.

brandPhilly Teamsters, Business Owners Rally Against Proposed Tax on Soda

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wants to institute a three-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages, a proposal that he says will raise up to $400 million with proceeds paying for a universal pre-K program and other initiatives. The plan is being heavily criticized by a group called Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax Coalition, which claims that the plan will stifle sales and threaten jobs. Led by the Philadelphia Teamsters and local business owners, the group launched a large rally against the proposal outside of Philadelphia’s City Hall earlier this month, as reported by Participants swarmed the building, was surrounded by tractor trailers, many emblazoned with soda logos and brand names. The rally was said to have caused significant traffic delays in the area.

Former Dean Foods Chairman Embroiled in Gambling Debts, Insider-Trading

Former Dean Foods chairman Thomas C. Davis has pleaded guilty to leaking insider information about the company in exchange for help with heavy gambling debts, The Wall Street Journal reported. Davis allegedly shared information about Dean Foods’ earnings with William “Billy” Walters, who The Journal described as a “a legendary sports bettor” and longtime friend of Davis. Using the illicit information, Walters allegedly earned profits and avoided losses totaling over $40 million in a six-year period. Walters is also said to have passed on information about Dean Foods to professional golf player Phil Mickelson, who was also weighed down with gambling debts. Walters was arrested last week and is facing 10 criminal charges, including wire fraud and securities fraud. Davis is cooperating with federal authorities against Walters. Although Mickelson was not charged, he agreed to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over $1 million, based on profits gained from the insider tip, plus interest.