Don't Mess With Beyoncé

via Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS

Small-business owners, a word of advice: Don’t use Beyoncé’s name to sell stuff. A Brooklyn-based brewery got a cease-and-desist letter from the Houston superstar’s camp after the owner, Katarina Martinez, named one of their beers after Bey, Pitchfork has reported. Lineup Brewing’s beverage was called Biëryoncé (lol), and right, it’s not the singer’s real name, but it’s apparently close enough.


Speaking to Pitchfork, Martinez explained that the punny beer name wasn’t meant to offend. It was meant to be nice! “As a Hispanic, female run business, I am very inspired by her so I thought I’d pay homage,” she said. “We’re disappointed she didn’t take it as a compliment, but oh well. It was fun while it lasted!”

I get it—you might love Beyoncé. You might see her as your close personal (much more famous) friend. She might inspire you to go above and beyond in everything you do, to be the “Beyoncé” of your field, like craft brewing or wood-working or whatever. (Before the cease-and-desist letter, Martinez had been dubbed the Beyoncé of beer.) But despite popular opinion, Beyoncé’s name isn’t just a stand-in for “girl power” or “feminism” or “being the best” or “not coming to play with you hoes.” It’s also an ironclad brand, owned and managed by an incredibly savvy businesswoman, and that means she probably can’t have you diluting that brand with your own t-shirts and coffee mugs and other assorted merch, no matter how well-intentioned.

On the other hand, I fully applaud Martinez for naming beers after bad ex-boyfriends.

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