Vermont slaps VerMints candy-maker for misusing state name

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 13, 2014 4:20 PM

By Richard Valdmanis

BOSTON (Reuters) - Boutique mint-maker VerMints can keep its name, but its tins need to make clear the candies are not actually made in the Green Mountain state, according to a settlement announced by Vermont's attorney general on Monday.

Vermont sued VerMints in 2012, arguing that the company mislabeled its packaging as "Vermont's All Natural Mints" when the pastilles are actually produced in the Canadian province of Quebec.

"Use of the term 'Vermont' has great economic value, and many businesses go to the expense of sourcing their ingredients and processing within the state in order to market their products as Vermont products," Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell said in a news release.

VerMints will also pay $65,000 in the settlement, most of it in the form of a donation to the Vermont Foodbank.

VerMints, which sells its pastilles in small tins brightly painted with images of rolling green mountains, autumn leaves, and falling snow, said it was considering re-incorporating somewhere else as a result of the dispute.

"If they want to pat themselves on the back by punishing small businesses, that's fine," VerMints President Gary Rinkus told Reuters by telephone. "We seriously thinking about going to another state."

The company incorporated in Vermont in 2000.

Rinkus added that the 'Ver' in VerMints did not refer to the state. Instead it is short for Veritas - the Latin word for truth.

"These are true mints," he said. "They can't make me change the name."

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)