The producer of Kahlua is suing an Orthodox Jewish liquor distributor in Brooklyn for selling a copy of their famous coffee liqueur but in a Kosher version, the New York Post reported today, according to the Algemeiner Journal.
Absolut Co. filed a federal lawsuit in Brooklyn claiming that Happy Hearts Wine has been is selling Jewish liquor stores a knockoff of their product, named Kahfua.
The Swedish vodka company demands Kahfua be pulled from shelves immediately. The lawsuit accuses Kahfua of dilution, infringement and unfair competition, and trademark counterfeiting, according to the magazine The Spirits Business.
“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 being one letter different, the labeling on both liqueurs are 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 among Jews as an alternative to Kahlua, which is not Kosher and therefore does not conform to their 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 denied similarities in labeling and logo designs of both liquors. They argued that the fonts were completely different and one of them insisted, “You’re clearly not looking at it.”