Crystal Head threatens UK hot sauce makers

A British couple who make a hot sauce packaged in a skull bottle have found themselves in legal trouble with Crystal Head vodka, which is owned by the actor Dan Akroyd.

Crystal Head vodka and Bloody Hell Hot Sauce

Bloody Hell Hot Sauce is produced by husband and wife Robert and Rosie Powers on the Isle of Wight but the fact it is bottled in a glass skull has not gone down well with the Canadian company whose own vodka is also famously bottled in a grinning cranium.

Although the hot sauce is sold on the island by local shops and across the UK in Harvey Nichols’ various outlets, as Robert Powers told the press, the trouble began when he approached Akroyd to suggest a skull-themed Bloody Mary partnership.

The pitch “backfired” and has since elicited a letter of claim from Akroyd’s lawyers which threatens legal action if the Powers continue to sell their hot sauce in its current packaging and also orders them to destroy all of their current stock.

Founded three years ago and using a recipe from Robert’s Mexican grandmother (he is originally from California), Robert has said that the small business is only just getting off the ground and the current legal issues could be the end of it.

Even if the couple were to comply to the demands in the letter then Crystal Head could pursue them for damages.

“When I read the letter, I was physically sick. It’s so unfair. So many products are sold in skull bottles, and ours has nothing to do with their market,” Robert is reported saying in the press.

Speaking to the drinks business, the Powers’ lawyer, Michael Coyle, said the letter of claim was “aggressive” but “fairly standard stuff” and he was confident of fighting the challenge.

“Those skulls aren’t unique to Crystal Head,” he said. “They’ve had a trademark since 2008 but there are dozens of others that go back years.”

As reported in the Daily Mail, the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight, Bob Seely, has said he will fight the couple’s cause saying the bigger company was “bullying” the producer.

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