Monday, April 11, 2011

Brewin' Is a Bitch--Beermaker in 1st Amendment War With Liquor Commission

Flying Dog Raging BitchImage by Bernt Rostad via FlickrIn Flying Dog Brewery, LLLP v. Michigan Liquor Control Commission et al (Case No. 1:2011-cv-00307) filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, a Colorado limited liability partnership based in Frederick, Md., has alleged violation of the First Amendment and 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 by a state liquor commission that has refused to allow the sale of RAGING BITCH, the beer-maker's Belgian-style India pale ale.

In its 10-page complaint, Flying Dog challenges the constitutional validity of the MLCC's Rule 436.1611(1)(d), under which the commission banned the sale of RAGING BITCH as "detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare."  Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso, an economist, has 30 days to set forth the damages suffered by the Commission's ban on the controversially named beverage, according to a report by the Frederick News Post.

The beverage's label features an illustration of a dog and reads as follows: "Two inflammatory wild drink. Let it out. It is cruel to keep a wild animal locked up. Uncap it. Release it...stand back! Wallow in its golden glow in a glass beneath a white foaming head. Remember, enjoying a RAGING BITCH, unleashed, untamed, unbridled--and in heat--is pure GONZO! It has taken 20 years to get from there to here. Enjoy!" "TUOL" suspects he already would be in the men's room from the effects of the brew before he finished reading the label.

RAGING BITCH ia available in 27 states, the District of Columbia and sold in Europe. The plaintiff filed its complaint for damages, declaratory and injunctive relief because it believes the commission's denial of its sale in Michigan is a First Amendment freedom of speech violation.  The MLCC has yet to respond to the complaint.

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