29 May 2008

Sticking it to The Man

I had to laugh when I saw this post on Beer Buzz today. It seems that, not content with outlawing any suggestion that alcohol is affiliated with good health, sexual prowess, wealth or success, it is now also forbidden to use any wit or humour in promoting booze.

Federal US alcohol regulators, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, have ordered the Mount Shasta Brewing Co. in Weed, California to stop using the tag line "Try Legal Weed" on their bottle caps, as this could be "misleading" to consumers. A full report can be found here on the Fox News website. For the brewery's own take on the whole saga click here.

Unfortunately we can't just pass this off as an "only in America" oddity. This follows hot on the heels of BrewDog's recent spat with the Portman Group, reported last week by Stonch and A Swift One. In an attempt at censorship that Mary Whitehouse herself would be proud of, the do-gooder group took exception to the Aberdeenshire micro's unusually aggressive promotion strategy, complaining that phrases such as "Twisted Merciless Stout" used to describe their 8% Rip Tide associates its consumption with antisocial behaviour. Madness.

I really hope we don't end up going down the tobacco route of obscene health warnings and social exclusion. I don't fancy seeing a picture of a bloated liver or jaundiced old soak next to the beer description on every label.


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