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Flying Fish Brewing Company Angers MADD and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority


Starting this week, the Flying Fish Brewing Company’s second beer in their Exit Sign Series is due to hit shelves and bars. These beers are named after the exits that are near the Cherry Hill, NJ home of the brewery. The first in the series, Exit 4, is a Belgian style ale and the next will be an American Wheat Ale called Exit 11.

The New Jersey Turnpike and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are up in arms about founder of Flying Fish Gene Muller naming beer after roadways. Mindy Lazar of the New Jersey chapter of MADD stated, “The combination of a roadway and advertising for any kind of a beer doesn’t make any kind of sense, this is almost a mockery.” Undoubtedly drunk driving is a serious topic and should never be taken lightly, but does naming a beer after a roadway really deserve such concern?

Other beers have taken an automotive theme without such a backlash. Bear Republic Brewery’s Hop Rod Rye, a beer associated with “hot rods”, received no such admonitions when it was released. Another example of automobiles and beer would be AleSmith Brewing Company’s Speedway Stout, featuring checkered flags on the bottle, this is another beer with close ties to motoring. Maybe the Speedway Stout can be excused because it is a closed course with professional drivers? I don’t know.

The reality is that naming a beer after cars, races, or exit signs isn’t going to create a mad frenzy of would be drunks to get into their cars and rush to the streets. Education about alcohol seems like a much better approach than attacking one company’s choice of labeling.


  1. ErinJ | Sunday, July 19, 2009

    While it does show poor judgement, I think they may be missing the point of the names. Ask anyone from Jersey” what exit are you from” and you will undoubtedly be told to “go to hell” since it is a sarcastic way to ask someone where they are from. To them it is probably just like naming the beers after a town. Still, even knowing that bit of knowledge, it was a stupid thing to slap on the side of a beer bottle.

  2. DrinkPlanner | Sunday, July 19, 2009

    Screw MADD. They’re a once well-intentioned organization that’s basically become one of the loudest anti-alcohol voices in the country. They’re kind of like the PETA of the booze world, with insane over-the-top reactions to anything like this. They’re the reason BAC levels while driving are so low that drinking more than one beer will earn you a DUI. Errrgh, they really piss me off. The Modern Drunkard actually has a very well researched article about MADD from several years ago that better explains it.


  3. Katie | Monday, July 20, 2009

    This Jersey girl is actually dying to try the new Exit but can’t get my hands on any yet. As for MADD, I think that, like PETA, they often target the little guys figuring it’ll be an easier battle, much like the gripe over the treatment of ducks in the making of foie gras, instead of griping over…say….the appalling treatment of cattle and poultry in the large slaughterhouses.

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