Monster Energy Co., a publicly traded company and a bona fide corporate bully, believes it is “good business” to use shareholder money to go after any business, large or small, which uses the 14th century words “monster” or “beast” in any way, shape, form, or context.
Breyting Community Roaster, a small Florida roastery is fighting back against legal threats made by Monster Energy Co., blasting the drink maker for using “dubious” trademark claims to establish an “anticompetitive monopoly” on the commonly used word “monster.” The roastery launched a coffee blend this year called “Fred Schneider’s Monster Blend,” in collaboration with B52s frontman Fred Schneider. The coffee blend’s moniker is an homage to Fred’s 1984 banned MTV song “Monster,” which predates the radioactive-green energy drink company by a few decades.
Coven has dealt with unscrupulous businessmen before who use lawsuits to bully their way into power & influence instead of using their brains to build honest businesses built around ethics. “Monster Energy Co.’s empire-building tactics are aimed at destroying honest folks’ livelihoods and artistic creativity. We are just one in a long line of independent companies to receive threats like this & we aren’t afraid to take a stand against corporate bullying.”
CALL TO ACTION: Breyting Community Roaster is rallying all founders, independent businesses, artists, and innovators ever bullied by Monster Energy Co. to stand together as a community and fight back against litigation abuse. From now till October 31st Breyting Community Roaster is donating all the profits from its website sales at www.communityroaster.com to help fund a legal defense for those affected. Too often, trademark, copyright, and patent bullies initiate meritless lawsuits, counting on their victims not having the resources to defend themselves. Too many small businesses fall victim to these tactics, surrendering their property, not because they are in the wrong, but because they simply cannot afford to tangle with the beast. By providing access to representation for victims of these bullies, we can change the power differential between large and small ventures, and help rebalance the scales of justice.
A portion of the profits will support Bricolage Law, LLC ( HYPERLINK “http://www.bricolagelaw.com” www.bricolagelaw.com), a flat-fee law firm created this year by Eve J. Brown and Paul F. Nagy specifically to empower independent businesses and slay IP bullies. Eve and her team have made it their mission to combat litigation abuse and to level the playing field for small ventures. They have already succeeded in defending numerous small businesses in David vs. Goliath battles with corporate giants, including Monster Energy Co. v. Monsterfishkeepers, in which Monster Energy tried to argue that consumers couldn’t distinguish energy drinks from pet cichlids, and Nautica Apparel v. Christine Palmerton, in which Nautica tried to put Palmerton, an independent business owner in Seattle, out of business for incorporating the generic prefix “NAUTI” into her own creative logo.
Bricolage, which is defined as “leveraging the resources at hand to affect positive, systemic change” is also representing Thunder Beast, a DC-based craft root beer company currently being challenged by Monster Energy over the use of the word “beast.” Bricolage has already made a dent, but this is only the beginning. Bricolage’s attorneys have chosen, like so many of you, to forego large profits in favor of doing work they believe in. Your support will allow them to reach even more small businesses in need.
We’ve started a petition on Change.org to bring this important issue to the attention of Monster Energy’s shareholders and Coke, which is a shareholder and distributor for Monster Energy Co.
We may be small, but together, we can make a big difference. Follow our progress or join the movement at: https://www.facebook.com/bcroaster
For the most part, American cities are riddled with shopping centers, chain stores and chain restaurants. In dissecting this issue, most social activists tend to rant on about the evils of large corporations. There are many facets to this phenomenon that can be traced to the grip corporations have over our nation. However, there are different angles to the role corporations play in this food fight and more complex reasons behind Americans’ love of chains and the prevalence of shopping centers, strip malls and box stores.
Eating and shopping at familiar places and the rise of American shopping centers and strip malls has been linked to the restlessness of American society and the tendency of Americans to continuously relocate. In his article on Why Americans Love Chain Stores, Eric Jaffe discusses the research done by a group of behavioral scientists led by Shigehiro Oishi at the University of Virginia. They concluded that the continuous mobility of Americans is rooted in the pursuit of more promising prospects. Along with that is a sense of independence and freedom behind this constant movement. However, it breeds a certain amount of anxiety, stress and continuous restlessness. It is this anxiety and restlessness that carries with it a concurrent urge for familiarity. There is something reassuring about the next meal or drink being the same from one city to the next. Whereas Oishi and his group cite American mobility being rooted in freedom and self-expression, I would argue that this need for familiarity exhibits less freedom and sense of self-expression. There are higher risks associated with eating at a local restaurant. Food, people, places and experiences will be different. Typically, American shoppers are not risk takers. If Americans were truly ‘free’, more local restaurants would be sought after and places like farmers markets would be patronized for their produce over a big box retailer, for instance. There are elements that shackle the American shopper and eater to box stores. The shackles I speak of are so embedded in our culture that they often go unnoticed.
Shopping at big box retailers or mega club stores for produce is proof that many Americans have lost the connection between what we eat and the source of our food. Americans want cheap food and shopping at large box stores or in wholesale ensures that we get bang for our buck. There is a critical disassociation between the value of time, energy and labor that goes into putting that turkey slice, cheese and tomato on that wheat wrap. It takes anywhere from three and a half to six months to raise a turkey, on average a couple months to a year to make cheese and about three months to grow a tomato. This does not take into account hatching times, germination or the actual time to process cheese. Nor does this include the labor or energy in harvesting, meat processing, packaging, transportation and storage. There is a huge disconnect between the actual value of our food and the price we are willing to pay. Americans are indeed bargain hunters. Let us delve a bit deeper into bargain eating. I propose that behind bargain hunting is a poverty or scarcity mentality worth exploring. Americans are lied to and told that there is not enough land or food to support our numbers. What is really happening is food is intentionally kept off the market to keep costs artificially high. Americans are forced to seek out bargains and continue to pay high prices for food. If we turned to local markets and local farmers, we would soon see the abundance of food and begin to build around us a more sustainable food system. Additionally, the ecological and social footprint of box stores and strip malls is confirmation that Americans are short term thinkers. Self takes precedence over the legacy we leave for our children to remedy the damage we are doing. A land stripped down for strip malls and box stores that are eventually vacated and torn down and sent to the dump and redeveloped into brand new shopping centers. Farm land is laid waste from mono-cropping year after year in order to produce higher yields. There is virtually no social engagement or relationship building in the way we eat or the way we shop. Bargain eating alone could open a Pandora’s box for any social activist to rant on. Nonetheless, let us move on to yet another topic that could become a Pandora’s box: our capitalist system and how it affects the way we eat.
Americans eat on the run. If there was a way to put a four course meal in a wrap or a sandwich, Americans would probably eat it. Throw a drive-thru in the deal and there is a business concept that could do quite well. The popularity of fast food in America is definitely connected to the fact that fast food is typically cheap. However, there are other factors that warrant further consideration. The average lunch break in the U.S. is 20 to 30 minutes. Roughly 65 per cent of Americans eat at their desk. Commute times force Americans to eat frozen foods or grab-n-go dinners. There is a total disconnect between time and food, enjoyment and social engagement over meal times. Americans eat in their cars, at their desk or in front of the television. A survey done by an insurance company, Malakoff Mederic in 2011 found that lunch break times fell to 22 minutes in France whereas decades before, an average lunch break was one and a half hours. Fast food eating is not just an American ‘thing’ anymore. It is a systemic problem that is now becoming a world-wide trend. Wage labor, consumerism, our built environment are all elements behind fast food eating. People are working longer hours to pay a mortgage and buy the newest or hottest trends. We are driven mad with constant buying due to the invasion of our homes, workplaces and public spaces with constant advertisements. Our cities are built for cars and suburban living leaving us with little options apart from staying in our cars to eat while getting from one point to the next.
Streets, cities and almost every little corner is slowly looking exactly the same across the nation. In almost every other country, cities have a unique feel. In America, one could not differentiate between one city to the next. Corporate logos are vomited all along our streets and highways and popping up like weeds in public parks. Four gas stations duke it out by the penny at each cross section right next to four competing pharmacies with only slightly different façades. Slowly, even small downtown centers are starting to put in smaller versions of box stores. Cities are giving into to the chain gangs and corporations have gone thug on almost every mom ‘n’ pop shop. Americans eat cheap, eat fast and eat what is familiar. We are slaves to systems that stay hidden and embedded in our culture. We can be free, break through and take risks or remain as we are and continue this path. Our current trajectory is self annihilation, obliteration of our social fabric and potential destruction of our planet. The alternative is to become more engaged with our people, our planet and our food.
So many of us truly believe that our choices can’t really change things because the Big Guys are just too big. They, the ‘Big Guy’, have hijacked our thoughts. We have collectively agreed that they are right and we have collectively given them control. We shop in a box, eat from a box, farm in box-like parcels, take our medicine from a box and die in a box. It is time to change the way we think and the way we eat. Power structures can shift when we change our thinking and take back our choices.
Large agri-businesses have the heaviest lobby and need small farmers to disappear both on U.S. land and abroad. Americans want cheap. Cheap comes at a scale small farmers cannot compete. Slowly small farmers are saying adios and cashing in their debts to Big Ag. Many ‘Mom and Pop’ shops said goodbye long ago with big box stores stepping in with one-stop shop. Big stores, where you can drive your SUV to and get everything you want, nice and cheap. If we continue to shop and eat the way we do, all our small farmers will be history. Unfortunately, in some cases from big box stores to mega agri-business, they are the same ‘Guy’. One of the ‘Big Guys’ is Cargill. They are one of the world’s largest privately held corporations. Not only do they control a huge portion of the global grain business, they also have a near monopoly over entire regions of American grain elevators, where farmers sell their crops. Their little fingers are in a lot of American pies spanning from food industries, agricultural, financial to industrial. Amongst their offerings are pork, beef, turkey, oils, shortenings, salt, sweetners and various dressings and sauces. They own brands such as Crisco and GoodNature. Cargill is only one example of how lost our food system is in the shadow of Mega Corporations.
What we eat and how we eat is literally killing our planet. Millions of acres across the nation and around the world are being ripped apart to create pasture land for cattle. In fact, 60 percent of deforestation is due to cattle grazing. And in the United States, livestock production is responsible for 55 percent of erosion, 37 percent of all applied pesticides and 50 percent of antibiotics consumed. One of the most precious ecosystems, the Amazon rain forest, is being chopped back to make way for the cattle industry. In Brazil, 70 percent of deforested land is used as pasture land. Not only is land being leveled to create grazing pastures for cattle, but we are losing land to raise feed for the factory farming of animals. Cows directly consume 95 percent of U.S. oat production and 80 percent of corn. The cattle industry is the largest consumer of land and feed. However, farming in general, from the factory farming of animals to our agricultural system, is striking a hefty blow to our planets capacity to sustain the feeding nature of the human species.
The dust bowl is getting larger. Rivers and lakes are drained to water farm land. The land cannot sustain the way we farm. Globally, irrigated farming takes up 60 percent of available fresh water. The Colorado River Basin alone, lost almost 16 cubic miles in less than 10 years. In Kansas, farmers are irrigating at a rate that the entire Ogallala aquifer will be lost in the next 50 years. In order to get the land to keep producing what already kills us, we are dumping fertilizers and pesticides which become our new rivers and lakes. Each year one billion pounds of pesticides are dumped on American soil. This year, another Ag Giant leading the seed industry, Mansanto, put in a $45 million bid to buy out Switzerland’s Syngenta who commands the world market in pesticides. Together, these two companies would have controlled 98 percent of the world’s seeds and pesticides. Seed and pesticides are already dangerously intertwined with seeds being genetically modified to withstand pesticides and herbicides. The environmental footprint of our food system is out of control. Our food travels thousands of miles to be warehoused and distributed. The amount of land and energy to grow, distribute, warehouse and sell our food is not even close to being sustainable. And then, factor in things like packaging and waste as well as costs such as media and marketing. Our food system falls out of the world of rational and into the realm of absolute insanity.
Our choices to buy cheap have made a difference and the difference we now see is luminous indeed. We created what we have and we have the power to create something different. Cheap is not better and it comes at a very high price. A price we are now paying for on the back end or should we say hind-end. When talking about the costs for cheap food, we also need to take head to the impact of the way we eat on our health. Obesity and a plethora of other physical ailments that plague this nation such as diabetes, heart disease, and so many types of cancers which keep the ‘Big Guy’ fat and the ‘Little Guy’ cash poor. While Americans pour high fructose corn syrup down their throats and pump Red #40 in their veins, food giants such as Nestle, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Pepsico, Unilever, Coca Cola, Mars and Danone, etc. are banking on the hopes that Americans will drink the coolaid for years to come. We are literally giving food giants all our money and having them poison us with industrial by-products and other chemicals that are developed to taste good, prolong shelf life and are turned into marketing gimics to sell new products.
Collective agreements can be made to undue what has been done. Just as easily as we have collectively agreed to buy cheap at high costs, we can collectively agree to make other choices that can hit the ‘Big Guy’ where it hurts. More and more Americans are waking up to things such as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), the benefits of eating organically, looking for labels such as ‘no antibiotics or growth hormones’, ‘grass fed’, etc. More Americans are demanding all ingredients to be listed on food products as well as demanding the transparency of GMOs in our food. Box stores such as Walmart, Costco, Target, etc. are offering more organics and natural food products to keep up with the current trend of Americans choosing healthier foods. We still have a long way to go before the ‘Big Guy’ feels the weight of our consumer power, but it is possible.
Local First or Buy Local movements are also on the rise. Even if many Americans don’t eat organically, an increasing amount of consumers are getting behind local businesses and choosing to put their dollars back into their local economies rather than in some offshore accounts or in the location of corporate headquarters. Some cities do not allow franchises or box stores in the town center or city limits. We need the return of Mom and Pop shops and small farmers in order to create healthier, more sustainable and vibrant local economies. Big box stores, chain restaurants and franchises may not go away entirely. Nonetheless, if we want to be more in control of our food system, we must support small businesses, local markets and our local farmers. Another good example of how the shift is possible can be seen in the ‘Occupy’ movements. If the blatant inequities and imbalances in the U.S. eluded most Americans, the ‘Occupy’ movements made it loud and clear that imbalances do exist and are not acceptable. It brought to the forefront the power of grassroots activism and demonstrated the power of the masses. The movement activated many Americans who were otherwise not involved in politics. They were examples of how collective agreements can be made amongst the masses and how power structures can begin to shift from the elite 1% back to the 99%.
Our buying choices, where we shop, how we eat and what we eat can tip the table back to local people, local farmers and local businesses. Think ‘Big’, Act ‘Small’ – smaller is better when it comes to putting power behind our dollars. Supporting local farmers, shopping locally and purchasing as much as we can from local farmers markets are some of the ways we can make choices that take back control of our food system and build community. Americans must take full responsibility for the reality we have created in handing control over to corporate giants and we must make pro-active choices in creating the reality that we want. Power structures can shift from the ‘Big Guy’ to the ‘Little Guy’.
In researching for this article, I found an interesting statistic that spoke volumes to the self-capping of women in the business world. A study was done called “Ambition and Gender at Work”. The survey was conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management. From the survey, the study found that 70 percent of men expected to become managers in business while only 50 percent of women believed they could make it to a management position. This means that half the women entering the work force already believe they will get no further than support positions. According to the Harvard Business Review, in 2014, 65% of women were is staff-support positions. To take this a step further in regards to women and entrepreneurship, Lisa Doward in her article, The Difference Between the Roll of Men and Women in the Business, indicated that men often start their own businesses to ‘be their own boss’ and grow their businesses to be as large as possible; whereas, women tend to start their own businesses in order to integrate work and family. By doing this, women tend to be self-limiting and try and keep their businesses small and manageable. This would mean that many potential female entrepreneurs believe they are not capable of running large businesses and maintain a family. Believing in yourself was one of the top 13 in Christine Perketts article ‘13 Simple Ways Women Can Make a Difference. She emphasized the importance of women to believe in her own capabilities and skills and how important it is that women support each other in the business world. Women need to show each other this “through kindness, support and camaraderie”. She states that the nastiness that often occurs between women in business is due to insecurities and intimidation.
Second behind investing in female business owners is the importance of mentorship. Women in the workplace and female entrepreneurs need to support each other. Various sources cited that mentorship, especially amongst women is critical to helping women become leaders in the business world. Female mentors are important, particularly strong, female mentors who give of their time and resources. One step further than mentorship, is the need for a career sponsor. The difference between a mentor and a career sponsor is that career sponsors are professionals who are already successful in business. They not only offer guidance and support, but also aid in the access to connections and capital. According to a 2011 Harvard Business Review special report, women are 54 percent less likely to have a career sponsor than men. In addition to capital investment and mentorship, women need entrepreneurial education. Because there is so much fear and doubt involved and many hurdles to overcome, women need to have access to training so that she can feel equipped to open her own business or embark on the path of a top business executive. Women in the workplace and female entrepreneurs need to be proactively given the information and resources that are available to her in the forms of angel investing, loans, grants and educational programs. Finally, both men and women in the community who are truly interested in seeing the advancement of women in the workplace should find local entities that support women in business and join in their efforts.
Since males hold top executive positions as well as dominate leading positions at the policy level, it is important that males champion the cause of women in business and join the ranks in supporting women in the business world. Goldman Sachs economist Kevin Day calculated that eliminating the gap between male and female employment would boost GDP in the U.S. by 9 percent. It is important that male leaders understand that female leadership in the business world is in the best interest of everyone. If narrowing the gender gap was focused on, the global income per person could potentially rise by 20 percent by 2030. According to The Economist article written by Tory Burch, women reinvest 90% of their earnings in their families and communities. This means that investing in women is an investment in our collective future.
First we have to take you back to 2005 to Laos, Vietnam’s neighbor, where Breyting® learned that the 20-year trade embargo placed against the country was lifted due to changing political systems. It is here in the high mountains that Laos produces a Canephora coffee that rivals Arabica coffees, and is considered by many Europeans to be one of the best coffees in the world.
When we arrived in Laos, we learned that it is not only the rich volcanic soil and the ample rainfall that contributes to the incomparable flavor and depth of our coffee, but the bombing during the Vietnam War. You may be asking yourself…”Bombs did what?” You see, due to bombing during the Vietnam War, farmers were forced to move their crops high up in the mountains to distance themselves from the dangers below. Unexpectedly, the coffee adapted well, developing its own rare and distinctive flavor, resulting in Lao coffee being the only Canephora in the world grown at 1300 meters (4,265 feet).
“Without a doubt it was a life changing moment for us,” said founder Ric Coven. It was especially significant for our coffee buyer Jordan Inthirajvongsy, who is both a refugee of Laos and a patriotic US citizen who served in the U.S. Army for four years. What a complex feeling to know the country you love and served bombed your family and friends. Beyond the financial cost is the challenge of locating the bombs, which are scattered across the country. Before water lines, electricity, housing, hospitals, or schools can be built, the bombs must be removed. It’s a labor-intensive, and expensive endeavor. Estimates to remove the unexploded bombs reach into billions of dollars.
Now that we had a plan, we had to come up with a name for this movement. It seems we were drinking the answer everyday: this amazing coffee that helps solve the snake and bomb issues. That is how Snake Bomb® Coffee was born.
“BUSINESS MODEL CHANGE”
Orlando Florida, June 1st, 2015 – The board of directors of Breyting Coffee & Tea Company™, have approved a business model change that reduces our product offering and regroups our production equipment into two focused divisions geared to add value for our customers. In addition to this new focus we will have the financial strength for capturing market share in the upcoming global economic changes and the R&D resources to develop innovative products that don’t just replace a SKU but rather start a whole new market or product offering.Read More...
1. Breyting Coffee™ (www.breytingcoffee.com) which exclusively focuses on providing hotels with our single serve in room program (single serve coffee packaged in “capsules” and “K-cups”, tea, condiments, tray, cups, and proprietary coffee maker).
2. Breyting Community Roaster™ (www.communityroaster.com), which focuses on activism and supporting other non-profits through an innovative fundraising program and also sells our branded coffees to retailers such as our Fred Schneider’s Monster Blend™, a collaboration with the frontman of the “world’s greatest party band”, The B-52s and other collaborations with musicians, celebrities and activists.
For those of you that know our history you know we are an advocate to bring back U.S. manufacturing and have meet with countless economic development leaders and even senators in our plea to change public policy, affecting in particular unfair taxes and subsidies that favor foreign production instead of localized businesses and programs such as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and to implement incentive programs for retailers that support U.S.A made products.
As we reform Breyting Coffee & Tea Company, we are aligning our brands with retailers and distributors who share our core commitments to America first and social and environmental responsibility. To this end we have invested $800,00.00 in new packaging and roasting equipment and have committed to opening a new coffee plant in Deland Florida (1220 Biscayne Blvd Unit G & H Deland, FL 32724), which will be operational by June 15th 2016. We are also working in collaboration with other U.S. manufacturers to create a line of new merchandise that proudly bares the “Made in America” mark that we will market through our distribution network and retailer’s worldwide.
Our long-held business strategy is to build brands that have modest yet consistent earning power, good returns on equity and surrounding these brands with talented and honest management. Going forward you can expect this strategy to be applied and practiced.
We thank you for your continued support.
The Breyting Companies