Court Rules Brewery Can Use Naked Cartoon on its Labels
A United States District Court has ruled that naked cartoons on beer packaging are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. If you weren't sure, the First Amendment is the Right to Free Speech and apparently, the courts found that Flying Dog Brewery's rights had been violated by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. All of this is because of a cartoon depicted on the label.
That commission had ruled that the labelling on the company's Freezin' Season Winter Ale was in bad taste (the label and not the beverage) and therefore was rejected under a regulation that prohibited labels that were considered to be "undignified, immodest, or in bad taste". Who knew there was such scrutiny given to beer labels?
You're no doubt wondering "just how offensive" is this beer label? The label depicts a naked cartoon character standing by a fire. Now, I am no art critic but if you hadn't told me that was a naked something standing next to that fire on the beer label, I wouldn't have been able to figure it out. Nudity scares some people I guess.
We do have a picture of the label for you to see. I am obligated to suggest that those who are easily offended by cartoons that depict nudity, might want to scroll right on past the picture. However, I don't think it really is NSFW.
Now, I mean no disrespect to artist Ralph Steadman who created the artwork for the label but I don't really see a whole lot of reasons to be upset. The label seems to be in keeping with the other labels created for the company's other products. They too feature a unique style of artwork where the viewer seems to be invited to come up with his or her own interpretation.
By the way, this isn't Flying Dog's first "go round" in court. The company has had similar label lawsuits brought in Michigan and Colorado too. In the Michigan case, the company was not allowed to sell its Raging Bitch Beer in 2015. That label featured a likeness of a female dog with bared teeth and its tongue covered in blood.
That's the "offending" label pictured above. Frankly, I find the use of the word "bitch" to be more unsettling than the picture of the dog but I'm not on an alcohol control board so I am allowed to have rational thoughts.
Personally, I like craft beers with funky labels and even stranger names. We have more than enough "corporate" breweries scattered across the globe. Let's let the little guys make their names and make their beers in the spirit in which they were intended to be made. And let's hope the flavor brewed into those beverages matches the creativity and uniqueness of the funky label.
What's the strangest name for a beer that you've ever heard of? You know Louisiana has a Brewery Trail that you can visit. We suggest you designate a driver if you plan on hitting one or two stops over the course of a day. And, please continue to drink your favorite beer responsibly, that's something that everyone including the courts and the alcohol control board in your state can agree on.
Oh, and see how many of these town names you can pronounce sober and then try again after a beer or two, chances are you'll mispronounce them correctly, just like everyone else does.
Acadiana Towns With Multiple Pronunciations