Michigan-based Founders Brewing Co. has only been around for a few years, but in that short time, it’s had a massive impact on the world of craft beer. If you’re into beer at all, chances are you’ve sipped on a Dirty Bastard, All Day IPA, or Breakfast Stout.
New Hampshire—like most states—wants to curtail underage drinking. State representative Keith Murphy (R), who runs a tavern, introduced a bill in the state legislature that would allow certain images of minors on alcohol labels as long as it was obvious that they didn’t encourage underage drinking. The reason: He wanted to stock Founders Breakfast Stout in his bar, plain and simple.
Governor Maggie Hassan (D) vetoed the bill. In her veto message, she said,
Murphy responded by saying what we’re all thinking: “No reasonable person would believe that this label is intended to appeal to minors in any way.” (You can add the FOH to the end of that sentence in your head.)
We’ve covered controversial beer labels in the past. Let’s take a look at a few that have actually been banned.
Bad Frog Beer
Reason For Ban: New York State Attorney General Dennis C. Vacco was also concerned about the children—never mind the fact that they shouldn’t be in the liquor section in the first place. When he brought his case in 1997, he said: “Children and their parents in grocery stores should not be subjected to an obscene frog giving them the finger. Bad Frog should hop back to its lily pond and return to New York when it develops some respect for our children.” (Photo: Bad Frog Beer)
Ridgeway Santa’s Butt Winter Porter
Reason for ban: While the level of humor on display might be questionable (English brewery cask units include a “butt” as a unit of measure, get it?), that wasn’t the issue for the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement in 2006. The MBLE’s problem: The Santa label might appeal to children. The Bureau later reversed its decision after the ACLU got involved, citing issues of free speech. So no babies or old men on your beer. Got it. (Photo: Shelton Brothers)
Wasatch Brewery Polygamy Porter
Photo: Wasatch Brewery
Reason for ban: In 2001, the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission very nearly banned all advertising that it viewed as poking fun at religion because of this specific beer. Ultimately, it didn’t—but two billboard companies with which Wasatch had contracts refused to display ads for this brew.
While polygamy is commonly associated with the state’s Mormon majority (that’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, officially) the practice has been illegal in Utah since 1890. Dewey Reagan is president of Reagan Outdoor Advertising, one of the billboard companies involved. He told the Salt Lake Tribune,
The entire mess generated more publicity than Wasatch could have hoped for: Less than a year later, demand for Polygamy Porter jumped from 500 cases a month to 3,000. Shirt sales also went through the roof. Fast-forward to March 2015, when Wasatch bottled Polygamy Nitro Porter, which Paste Magazine called “bottled magic.”
We’re pretty sure Founders Brewing Co. will be just fine, and New Hampshire craft beer fans can just do what craft beer fans everywhere do: Take their business to neighboring states (Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont) that sell the Founders Breakfast Stout they crave.
[via Michigan Live]