Posted on | July 6, 2011 | 1 Comment
Well, it has arrived. Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery is finally allowed to sell its incredibly tasty Raging Bitch IPA in Michigan. But, will that stop them from pushing on in federal court? Apparently not.
Back in April, I published an article discussing a Michigan ban on the Belgian-Style IPA.The Michigan Liquor Control Commission determined that the label for the beer was offensive. Apparently, the MLCC is not a fan of British painter Ralph Steadman’s iconic art. Ralph’s emphatic declaration on the bottle’s label was deemed “detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public.”
In response, Flying Dog filed a federal lawsuit claiming that its First Amendment rights had been violated. The suit proceeded to hearing in early June, on a request for a preliminary injunction. The MLCC reversed course just three weeks later and issued an approval for the label. The beer is now headed to the shelves.
This must spell an end for the federal lawsuit, right? Wrong.
Flying Dog is seeing its suit all the way through, seeking damages for lost profits and a declaration from the court that would prevent the MLCC – and seemingly all other liquor authorities – from content-based discrimination. In my approximation, such a ruling could be far reaching. So, this case becomes a very interesting one to watch.
For those of you pushing borders with your beer labels, stay tuned. This lawsuit could have an important effect on the future of beer.