Have you ever referred to something that’s really great as “the champagne of _____?” Be grateful that you haven’t been sued. You can’t just slap the name “Champagne” on any old sparkling white wine unless it was made in a specific region in France, so you’re completely on your own if you even try to compare something that isn’t even an alcoholic beverage to The Almighty Champagne.
Take the iPhone, for example. Early speculation was that the gold-colored iPhone 5S would be called “champagne,” as befits such a fine mobile device. The nice people at the CIVC (Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine) got ahead of any actual announcements and warned Apple that they had better not use the name for an electronic product. “Champagne doesn’t have one single color,” the champagne producers sniffed. Therefore, calling the phone color “champagne” is only capitalizing on the brand of sparkling wine produced in one specific tiny region of France.
This marketing dispute has popped up again because of a new and extremely fancy brand of water. Beverly Hills 9OH2O calls itself “The World’s First Sommelier-Crafted Water™,” because water sommeliers are apparently a thing now. Their true crime was to compare a beverage that is not sparkling wine produced in a specific region in France to champagne. They dared refer to Beverly Hills 9OH2O as “the champagne of waters,” drawing the ire of the CIVC.
Lawyers who represent the champagne producers in California sent the water company a letter pointing out water is not sparkling wine produced in a specific region in France, and can’t be marketed using that word that begins with “C.” Rather than fighting this somewhat ridiculous request, the company removed all references to the sparkling alcoholic beverage from its marketing materials.
Beverly Hills 9OH2O retails for about $5 in gourmet grocers and other suitably fancy establishments, and costs about $12 per bottle in restaurants.