When Mary Berry Sends Your Brewery a Cease and Desist Letter, Make 'Cease and Desistberry' Beer
Richmond, California's Armistice Brewing Company was brewing a massive new pastry stout. Mary Berry is well-known for her tenure on The Great British Baking Show. So it seemed like a sensible decision: Take a beer that was inspired by a baked good and name it after a baking-based reality show star—thus, Mary Berry Pastry Stout. But there was just one small problem: Mary Berry. Her legal team caught wind of the forthcoming new brew—and a cease-and-desist letter sent Armistice Brewing back to the drawing board.
After using Instagram to promote the beer—which beyond the name, also somewhat egregiously featured Mary Berry's face on the label—brewery co-founder Gregory Zobel said they received a cease-and-desist email within hours. “They said, 'You're using her image without consent, please remove and contact immediately,'” he told the SF Gate. “It was totally intended as an homage,” co-founder and sibling Alex Zobel, added, “but I get it, people gotta protect their image to the public.”
Still, the brewery couldn't let the pastry stout—which was made with red raspberry purree, two different kinds of single-origin cacao nibs, and Madagascar vanilla beans—go to waste. So they explained on Instagram that they would be “pouring thousands into a sophisticated rebrand.” The result: Cease and Desistberry Pastry Stout—the exact same beer but with the new name stuck over the old one and an upside-down smiley face sticker covering Mary Berry's visage.
The newly renamed stout goes on sale today at the Armistice Brewing taproom or can be reserved for pickup online starting at 8 a.m. PT at ToastTab.com/ArmisticeBeer. The 500-milliliter bottles are selling for $19 each—with, for the record, none of the proceeds going to Mary Berry.
Meanwhile, the irony in all of this is that, by sending the cease-and-desist letter, Berry's lawyers created a bit of a “Streisand effect”—giving the brew far more publicity than it would have gotten without the controversy. That said, it seems like a win-win for everybody: Armistice got word out about their beer, and Mary Berry doesn't have to worry about anything thinking that she personally endorsed it. Plus, her lawyers got to earn their keep—so call it a win-win-win.