Kelowna coffee roastery sends Canoe brand down the river and welcomes new identity | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna coffee roastery sends Canoe brand down the river and welcomes new identity

Kelowna’s Canoe Coffee Roasters is about to fade into history while a new and exciting brand rises in its stead. The name, logo and all other branding attached to the local roaster will disappear as per an agreement with the "multi-billion-dollar" company that threatened legal action due to their similarly branded offshoot roastery.
May 28, 2020 - 3:10 PM

Kelowna’s Canoe Coffee Roasters is about to fade into history while a new and exciting brand rises in its stead.

The name, logo and all other branding attached to the local roaster will disappear as per an agreement with the "multi-billion-dollar" company that threatened legal action due to their similarly branded offshoot roastery.

On Saturday, May 30, however, owners Jen and David Upshaw are moving onward and upward, revealing their new brand and upgraded facilities at a launch party.

“We’re super excited — it’s great to have had this as a light of the end of the tunnel,” Jen said, of the changes.

While she’s not willing to reveal the new name of the brand until then, she did say that inspiration for it was drawn from a suggestion from the community. From that suggestion, David took a little artistic licence.

“I think people are really going to like it,” Jen said.

The new launch will see people invited into the new, much bigger space.

There’s now a courtyard and the warehouse that was behind the coffee shop now has a kitchen, where coffee classes will one day be held, and a loft space they made into a shared study area. 

There will also be live music from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and espresso and pour-over samples.

A latte art throw-down with their best baristas will start at 2 p.m., and will be live-streamed on their Facebook page for those who are still social distancing and don’t want to go out.

Jen said while she’s excited for what’s next, between the lawsuit threat and the pandemic it’s also been a tough period to weather. That said, there’s usually a silver lining.

“Because the cafe was closed we were able to do aesthetic renovations and changes, instead of closing and doing it when things were already closed,” she said. “It also gave us the time to devote to make sure our branding was on point.”

Financially it was far from the dream, but she said the community has been good about ordering coffee and keeping them going.

Canoe Coffee Roasters started providing specialty coffee in 2015 out of a trailer that became a Kelowna hotspot. It grew into a roastery and cafe in the North End earlier this year, and have been “grounding coffee lovers” with their specialty blends ever since.

It was October 2019 when they were contacted by a large U.S. company that they've been advised not to name. Lawyers for the company that owns resorts, theme parks and a small coffee company that shares the Canoe name in some form said the Kelowna roastery couldn’t share its name any longer.

“We had our lawyers look at it, and they said they didn’t think it was anything too serious,” Jen said, in December. “Usually these companies shake you down with a threatening letter and nothing comes of it.”

The Upshaws’ lawyer responded, said they wouldn’t comply with the request and that it was not trademark infringement for several reasons.

“Then we got a message saying they would take us to federal court if we did not stop using our name and we have 10 days to comply,” she said.

They agreed to stop using the name, and stretched it out until June 1, when the new brand will be revealed.


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