After months of ensuing legal battles between the Flying Dog Brewery and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, the Liquor Commission has reversed its position pertaining to the ban of Flying Dog’s Belgian-Style IPA Raging Bitch. The controversy began in September 2009, when Flying Dog Brewery applied for a license to sell Raging Bitch, the company’s 20th anniversary commemorative beer, in the state of Michigan. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission barred the sale of Raging Bitch, claiming that the beer’s label is “detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.”
Flying Dog finally filed suit on March 25th, but not only to overturn their decision, but to deem the Liquor Commission’s ability to ban any beer label that they find offensive unconstitutional. On top of that, Flying Dog Brewery is seeking to recover damages lost from the banning of the beer in Michigan.
“The Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s involuntary reversal of opinion is a victory for craft beer,” Flying Dog CEO and General Partner Jim Caruso said. “Now, the great people of Michigan are no longer denied access to Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA, Flying Dog’s top-selling beer. But the fight for First Amendment rights in Michigan continues to rage on.”
Rages on it does indeed. “We’re glad that the people of Michigan are now free to decide for themselves whether Flying Dog’s beer labels are, like the beer, in good taste. Our lawsuit forced the Liquor Commissioners to see at least some of the light. But the litigation won’t end until the Commissioners accept responsibility for the damage they’ve caused by violating the First Amendment,” Flying Dog’s attorney Alan Gura, partner at Gura & Possessky, said.
Well done, Flying Dog, keep fighting the good fight. HST would be proud.