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Diatribe: There’s Nothing Clever About “Date Grape”.

02/06/2014

HomeOfDateGrapeKoolAidWhen I was much younger, I loved a good frozen drink.  My friends and I would enjoy frozen margaritas whenever we could.  I even bought a special blender with a little spigot on the front to make and serve frozen cocktails.  Of course they were never as good as when someone else made them for me.  My favorite place to get an adult Slurpee was at Fat Tuesday … specifically, the Fat Tuesday location on Duvall Street in Key West, Florida.

At every Fat Tuesday location, a variety of twenty different flavors of frozen daiquiris were available at all times.  There were spinning coolers behind the bar and the staff would let you experiment by mixing flavors and offering free samples.  The different flavors that they offered, and still do in many locations today, include Banana Banshee, Long Island Tea, Pina Colada, Triple Bypass, Jungle Juice, 190 Octane, Mardi Gras Mash and, my personal favorite, Rum Runner.  The names were clever, fun and easy to remember … which added to the atmosphere … but they were never blatantly offensive.

date-grape-kool-aid-bar-protests-washington__oPtThe same cannot be said for “Date Grape Kool-Aid”, a cocktail featured at last Friday’s grand opening of The Daiquiri Factory in downtown Spokane, Washington.  The bar posted its menu on a Facebook page and it didn’t take long for people to be offended by the obvious attempt to poke fun at what is a very serious problem.  Hundreds of people, many of whom were rape survivors, have protested outside The Daiquiri Factory, critics have called for the bar to simply change the drink’s name and others have called for boycotts of the establishment.

“I can’t believe more people haven’t picked up on this Date Grape Kool-Aid.  With date rape statistics higher than ever and even worse in a college town, this is clearly a dangerous mentality to perpetuate.” – Kara Kingen via Facebook.

DaiquiriFactoryProtestersThe Daiquiri Factory doesn’t appear to be taking the concerns seriously at all and appear to be addressing the issue with additional humor.  Earlier, the bar had indicated that the inspiration for the drink’s name came from the popular website Urban Dictionary where “Date Grape” is defined as “when you and your loved one get drunk off of wine and end up hooking up.”

Classy … right?

The go on to defend the name of the drink by pointing out that their establishment is a bar intended for adults, aged twenty-one and up, only.  As recently as Tuesday, while still refusing to change the name of the drink, The Daiquiri Factory placed an ad on a local radio station that was also supposed to be an attempt at humor, saying:

“The Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory would like everyone to know there is simply no reason to be outraged by the ingredients in our signature daiquiris, there is no reason for the national outcry, nor is there reason for the protest.  We just think everyone simply needs a little daiquiri therapy.”

Clearly, they just don’t get it.  Date rape is not funny.  It’s not cool to even consider using it as a clever tongue-in-cheek marketing tool.  Granted, the controversy has generated more attention than the largest advertising budget could hope to attract … but for all the wrong reasons.  Kraft Foods, the maker of Kool-Aid, is even speaking out.

“We at Kraft are appalled.  Kool-Aid does not support or condone this drink, and finds its name to be highly insensitive to a serious issue.  This blatant misuse of the Kool-Aid trademark is offensive to so many, including us, and we are making it our top priority to address the situation ASAP.” – Kraft Foods.

I’m all for creative advertising and I’m sure my sense of humor isn’t always the most tasteful but if I was trying to run a business and hundreds of protestors showed up with a legitimate complaint like a rape joke I’d like to think that I’d be a lot more sensitive than the people behind The Daiquiri Factory in downtown Spokane, Washington.

To me, cancer jokes aren’t funny, AIDS jokes aren’t funny, rape jokes aren’t funny and neither is this.  It seems to me that the stubbornness of The Daiquiri Factory will ultimately lead to its failure and that either the law of supply and demand will close the doors or a trademark infringement lawsuit from Kraft Foods will shut the business down.

Fat Tuesday’s been around since the 1980s.  They’d know what to do.

What do you think?  Are folks making too big a deal out of the name of a frozen drink?

UPDATE 02/14/14: A name change and more protesting.

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14 Comments
  1. Perhaps if some other bar nearby created a drink called Boycott Daiquiri Factory they might rethink their asshattedness.

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  2. thedogs'mother permalink

    One of my more vivid memories of college is being backed into corner in a dark isolated room by a great big upperclassman and being trapped. Of course it was at an *illegal/rush social function* with beer. He put his arms on either side of me and he wasn’t going to let me go. I remember telling him I was going to scream my head off and then head straight to IntraFraternity Council if he didn’t let me go. He wised up.
    So no people aren’t making too big a deal of it.

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    • That was a close call. Sounds like you handled it well.

      (Frankly, I think the fraternity/sorority system on college campuses should be done away with. It often seems to do more harm than good.)

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  3. The local radio station you mention is actually owned by the same guy who owns the bar. We protestors were all appalled at his “press release” because that has been one of the most heartbreaking things about the whole debacle. They refuse to have a dialogue with us, they refuse to speak with the media, they lash out and blame everyone else for not getting the “joke”… It’s gotten so out of hand. If he would have apologized and changed the drink name, this would be a non-issue, and Spokane may or may not have had a kickass new hip hop club downtown.

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  4. thedogs'mother permalink

    I had no intention of joining a sorority when I first went to college.
    My cousin joined a fraternity and his girlfriend and the rest of her freshmen classmates were thrilled to find a *victim* for spring rush – me. I was Rushed with a capital R.
    All in all – the best thing is meeting future DH as he always waited for the last girl to come down the stairs to escort to a shared social function. I was the last girl because I had been in a knock down drag out water fight with the fraternity next door. I was soaked and disheveled and dripping water everywhere…. 🙂

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  5. Insensitivity to an affront like this is no excuse. People should vote with their feet until remedied. His initial decision and response are poor form and he needs to know it. That is my two cents. BTG

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    • My motto is “Money talks and speaks louder when it walks.”

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      • Agreed. I was thinking of a new tactic when we want to make a point. Get a list of people who send a reminder each week to the store and says “another week has passed where none of us came to your store. And, we are sharing our message with others.” There is a blogger who lives in Charlotte (I think) who has taken on Kraft to take dye out of their US mac and cheese and now is taking on Subway. Change can happen. Take care.

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  6. I found it terrible enough when God knows who coined the terms “I raped that” to mean something positive. And anyone who knows me knows that, I’ll let a whole lot of things slide, but I don’t care who you are or how you mean it, you will not say that sentence and not have me shortly thereafter tearing you a new asshole.

    I’m not overly sensitive about women’s issues, or delicate when it comes to offensive things. For example, I use the C word. And not by accident. And not in a fit of rage. Yup. Oh, and one of my top five favorite songs is Superman by Eminem. And I know all the words by heart. So when I get to a karaoke bar that had the song scratched out because it’s offensive to women, it’s the first song I put up.

    But rape is not something that at any time, on any level, can be seen as something cute, or desirable, or something that you secretly hope happens (unless it’s happening to that serial child molester while he’s in jail). People survive rape and move forward, but they never really forget. And the person they were literally dies the moment it happens, and they spend an eternity putting the pieces back together and creating a new them. And it’s so terrible when date rape happens, with or without roofies, because more often than not if it even gets reported, the victim is put on trial and raped by the system all over again, for a less than likely chance at conviction.

    Buuuuuuttttt I should order a drink that glorifies that, almost like I’m a big fan of being violated? And I should spend my hard earned money putting food on the table of the douche buckets who not only came up with this and thought it was clever, but note are basically saying “suck it up buttercup, no use crying over spilt milk… Just laugh at your shame and humiliation and pain and trauma and the PTSD symptoms you still suffer from today.”

    Wow. I hope they go out of business and end up working at McDonalds as cashiers the rest of their lives. Pathetic.

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    • I find working as a cashier at McDonalds to be a much more respectable line of work than peddling cocktails with names that make a mockery of violent sexual attacks.

      Maybe Kraft Foods will sue them and force them out of business.

      Like

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