New ‘Yellowstone’ Legal Drama Unfolds Over Cole Hauser’s Coffee Company
Yellowstone has been at the center of significant drama and dispute in recent months, but a legal battle between two coffee lines is one fight fans never saw coming.
According to a late-November report from San Angelo Live, the Texas-based Bosque Ranch — which is owned by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan — has filed a lawsuit against Cole Hauser's coffee brand, Free Rein Coffee Company.
Hauser, who stars as Rip Wheeler on Yellowstone, launched the coffee company earlier this year, marketing his brand with a rugged, Western-minded aesthetic similar to the one that fans know and love him for on Yellowstone. Free Rein's website cites Hauser's appreciation for "the life of a working cowboy" as his inspiration for starting the coffee company, saying he wanted to craft a product that "embodied the dreamer's mindset and callused hands of those cowboys he admired."
But about a month after Free Rein launched in October, Bosque Ranch filed suit for trademark infringement and cited unfair competition and false advertising, per San Angelo Live. Specifically, the company took issue with Free Rein's logo: An intertwined design of the initials "FR" that bears a striking similarity to Bosque Ranch's "BR" logo. Bosque Ranch has been using that design since 2004, and obtained federal registrations in 2020.
To make things even more tense, Bosque Ranch has sold its own brand of coffee since June, also relying heavily on cowboy and Western-themed marketing.
"The Cowboy way of life doesn't wait for the snow to melt or the rain to break. It starts before dawn and ends after dark," Sheridan sums up in a statement on the coffee brand's website. "... But the one thing as essential to the Cowboy as his boots and saddle is coffee. It is our fuel."
Bosque Ranch's lawsuit contends that the similarity between the two brand logos will cause customer confusion, and it is seeking "permanent injunctive relief, damages and profits from the defendants under the Lanham Act and Texas law."
There's no word yet on whether this legal drama will affect Yellowstone's filming schedule when the cast reconvenes to tape the final episodes next spring. The hit TV drama is currently on an extended break in the middle of Season 5, the first half of which wrapped on Jan. 1, 2023.
The show initially intended to air the second half of the season later this year, but those plans got pushed following a very public showdown between Sheridan and show producers and Kevin Costner, the series star. Writers and actors strikes in Hollywood further extended the break, but Paramount eventually announced that the show would resume in November 2024.
Costner will appear in the new string of episodes, but reportedly, not for long: His character is rumored to die during the second half of Season 5. Paramount has also announced that Yellowstone will end with Season 5.
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