(WGHP) — A North Carolina court has ruled in favor of a Maryland-based brewery in a case over a beer label.
On May 13, an North Carolina district court ruled in favor of Flying Dog Brewery against the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission in a lawsuit that claims that the North Carolina ABC regulation that allows the commission to ban labels that commissioners feel are “undignified, immodest or in bad taste” is a violation of the First Amendment.
This lawsuit came about in the summer of 2021, when the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission tried to reject a beer label for Flying Dog’s “Freezin’ Season” winter ale.
The label, illustrated by artist Ralph Steadman, depicts a cartoon character standing by a fire. This was rejected by the Commission. The North Carolina ABC denied the approval of the label because it thought it was in “bad taste.”
In a news release, the company stated that it believed not only that this was a case of “appointed bureaucrats trying to impose their views and preferences on others,” but that the regulation was unconstitutional in general.
The court’s ruling forces North Carolina to remove the current regulation so it is unable to reenact a similar directive again.
“The First Amendment is the last defense against authoritarian and arbitrary government, and it must be protected against any and all threats,” said Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog Brewery. “We are hugely grateful to our attorney, Marc Randazza, whose knowledge and passion for the First Amendment carried the day. With the First Amendment seemingly under attack from all sides, it is heartening to see court decisions like this that protect the freedoms that it embodies.”
Flying Dog is no stranger to lawsuits about its beer labels, having won similar lawsuits in Michigan and Colorado as well.
“Flying Dog has a long history of standing up against censorship,” the press release reads.