Profane Beer Label Causes a First Amendment Ruckus

Kim Conte
9

raging bitch beer label

I really don't know what the Flying Dog Brewery was thinking. Sipping on a fine craft brew should be a high-class, sophisticated experience. But how can you be expected to participate in such a refined activity when a crudely offensive beer label heaving with profanity -- such as this one for its best-selling Raging Bitch Belgian-Style Pale Ale -- is glaring at you on the bottle?

No wonder the Michigan Liquor Control Commission banned it!

Back in 2009, the commission deemed the language on the bottle to be "detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public" and denied Flying Dog a license to sell the beer. (This from the very same commission that allowed Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale, In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen Ale, and Dirty Bastard to all be sold in the state.) Allegedly, its problem was mainly with this portion of the inscription on the label:

Remember, enjoying a Raging Bitch, unleashed, untamed, unbridled -- and in heat -- is pure GONZO.

Well, guess what: Flying Dog is having NONE of it. The beer company is suing the commission, citing its "First Amendment rights and an appalling attempt at state censorship." Not only does it want the ban overturned, the suit also seeks to recover damages from the loss of sales under the statewide ban.

I'm with Flying Dog on this one: Is a little vulgarity on a beer bottle really something the government should be concerned about?

Do you think the Flying Dog Raging Bitch label is too profane?

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