Brewing up controversy: Beaner's Central forced to remove popular espresso drink from menu

By KBJR News 1

January 17, 2014 Updated Jan 17, 2014 at 7:48 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Beaner's Central Coffeehouse, in Duluth, has been brewing that much needed morning pick–me–up for over 14 years.

Coffee aside, the venue is also a haven for artists and musicians, and a favorite place for regulars like Drew Anderson to do lunch.

"It's the best coffee in town, [and] I've been all over. It is fantastic coffee," said Anderson, sipping on his fresh-poured cup, "I love the atmosphere of a concert coffeehouse, so I love the music here."

"[It's] the 'everyone's welcome' approach," said Beaner's owner Jason Wusow, also carrying a hot cup of joe, "as long as you're not picking on people... you can have your opinion," he added, laughing.

Wussow has owned the business since day one, and prides himself on the list of locally–acquired menu items available every day at Beaner's.

But one item that won't be on the menu any more: the popular espresso–coffee combo known as the depth charge—well, at least not by that name.

On Thursday, Wussow received a letter from Caribou Coffee corporate offices informing him that the commonly–used term is trademarked.

"I effectively got a 'cease and desist': change your website, change your Facebook, don't ever mention this again, [and] change your signage," listed Wussow. "I wonder if they're going after everyone in town, because I know there are a lot of places that use that term."

But rather than fight it, Wussow says he's taking the opportunity to get creative, and add some local input to the menu.

By Thursday evening Wussow put the call out over Facebook, asking regulars to percolate their minds and come up with a new name for the combination.

By Friday morning, over 130 people had come up with freshly–brewed names, from a "shock and awe" to a "tow truck."

"... because we have a customer, 'Tow Truck Eric,' and he drinks two depth charg... well, can't call it that anymore," laughed Wussow, catching himself before uttering the new-feared phrase. "It's going to take a while to get used to!"

And while the corporate request has left a bitter taste in Wussow's mouth, he says he's humbled by the outpouring of community support.

Who knows? Perhaps their final choice will be a name worth trade marking.

Wussow says he has about a month to remove depth charge from his menus, and websites.

If you would like to help Beaner's Central find a new name for their drink:

BEANER'S CENTRAL COFFEEHOUSE WEBSITE

Billy Wagness
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