Richardos coffee liqueur files lawsuit against Spirit Hound Distillers

A small business in Lyons that produces a coffee liqueur with a secret formula has filed a lawsuit against a Lyons-based distiller for allegedly stealing the recipe.

Richardo’s Liqueur, the owner of a proprietary formula for a coffee liqueur, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Boulder County District Court against Spirit Hound Distillers.

The dispute involves allegations of breaches of contracts the two businesses entered, according to the complaint.

Richardo’s secret formula gives the small business “a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace, just as the formula for Coca-Cola gives the Coca-Cola company a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” according to the complaint.

Spirit Hound, according to the lawsuit, proposed that it produce Richardo’s coffee liqueur, as well as have Richardo’s switch from its Colorado distributor to another distributor, one that Spirit Hound worked with. To protect its formula and its rights, Richardo’s had Spirit Hound sign a nondisclosure and confidentiality agreement.

Spirit Hound breached the agreement made with Richardo’s “by stealing and using Richardo’s work product” to create its own coffee liqueur, according to the lawsuit.

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Spirit Hound told a Colorado distributor and retailers that Richardo’s, which is owned by Jodi Scott, was out of business and that “Spirit Hound would be manufacturing its own coffee liqueur to replace Richardo’s.”

Spirit Hound, which is in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, released a statement on Thursday afternoon.

“Richardo’s has taken an unfortunate step and has made baseless allegations against us, both in a lawsuit and now publicly in the press for producing our own Café Colorado Coffee Liqueur,” the statement said. “These allegations are not true, and we intend to defend ourselves as we have done nothing wrong. We cannot comment further at this time as this is now pending litigation, but we want our beloved customers to know why we are silent.”

Matthew Brendan Rooney is the registered agent of the distiller.

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order, as well as a permanent injunction, to prevent Spirit Hound from making coffee liqueur using Richardo’s formula.

Actions taken by Spirit Hound caused “irreparable” harm to Richardo’s and will destroy the business, the complaint states. The lawsuit seeks damages in an amount to be established at trial.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:33 p.m. April 6, 2023, to include a statement from Spirit Hound.

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