Feds make Indeed Brewing change name of LSD Ale

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MNAle, Apr 9, 2016.


Should the government have the ability to approve / disapprove beer labels?

  1. Yes

    58 vote(s)
  2. No

    84 vote(s)
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  1. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Whether we like it or not, what the government does is not going to change overnight although at times what is done seems pretty unnecessary or 'over the top'. But in some cases it does make sense since there are those out there who have no concept of what is considered right and wrong, i.e. putting 'candy' in a beer name. But a prior comment to the effect that your ability to fight the government depends how deep your pockets are is quite true. Is it any surprise that the multinational corporations basically control our government? Is it any surprise since the multinationals have lobbyists who pour money into our elected representatives who in turn indirectly supervise the bureaucrats? It's unlikely for many reasons, but if ABInBev wanted to come out with a beer with LSD on the label and was willing to fight for it, is there much doubt that they would be able to as long as the reference wasn't clearly to the drug? If you haven't realized it yet, money talks, bullshit walks.
  2. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (668) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Since many of us are just talking in hyperbole now....

    We need less regulations on beer so that we can go back to when this was appropriate:
  3. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (384) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    Reason.com really needs its own Beer Talk Forum.
  4. Old_Hippy

    Old_Hippy Initiate (16) Apr 12, 2016 Connecticut

    Well, if this is a Legal System Decision in order to Legitimize Safe Drinking then I say we Let Safety Dominate and ONLY brew Lagers Sans Drugs!

    Though as I tell the story the BATF first discovered a bottle of the offense substance in a brothel they frequented...
  5. CassinoNorth

    CassinoNorth Disciple (304) Apr 5, 2013 New Jersey

    To be fair that woman got 3rd degree burns from the coffee. It was excessively hot.
    gcamparone, Fargrow, drtth and 3 others like this.
  6. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,099) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Geepers if the Beatles were American their song would have been forced to be called Lucy in the Sky with Zircons out of fear folks would try biting into the vinyl thinking it contained LSD.

    I love it when my tax dollars go to employ folks to decide if under a gram of a traditional foodstuff (clover) can be added into 155,000 gallons of beer, or whether we will be confused that a beer that contains Lavender, Sunflower and Dates might actually contain LSD.

    We have become a nation of adults who seem to be unable to make decisions, or lead our lives, without the government being our micromanaging mother.
  7. charlzm

    charlzm Poo-Bah (2,464) Sep 3, 2007 California

    Did you see the woman's burns? There's hot coffee, then there's "Burn your skin completely off" coffee.
    macesq, drtth, CassinoNorth and 2 others like this.
  8. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,270) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Humboldt Brewing Brown Hemp Ale with a tag line: Totally Toasted. What are they talking about?
    mickyge, Old_Hippy and BBThunderbolt like this.
  9. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland

    I Stand Corrected, Thank You Guys for the Clarification. My Cynical Side gets the better of me sometimes.
    tillmac62, CassinoNorth and thebeers like this.
  10. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,803) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    To be fair, the bureaucrat who disallowed that label had to do something that week.
    tillmac62 and 5thOhio like this.
  11. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,807) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    If they put on the label that those cookies would increase a consumers stamina, make them prettier, and make them eligible for a Nobel prize, you better believe that there are rules forbidding blatant lies. I'm so hoping you're trolling, but sadly, there are so many people that have the limited scope of thought that you've displayed here, that I think you genuinely believe what you're saying.
    BaseballNBeer, Old_Hippy and drtth like this.
  12. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,807) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Plus, I'm not even going to bring up the labeling laws for chemicals, or even legal weed.
  13. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Given the apparently increasing number of lawsuits claiming misleading labeling, seems like the Fed has saved the brewery a lot of legal hassles and potentially a lot of money.
    Ranbot and BBThunderbolt like this.
  14. JaefromLA

    JaefromLA Initiate (0) May 19, 2015 California

    Why are they Trippin'?
    BBThunderbolt likes this.
  15. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    That link is interesting. Wondering if the trade marking before expansion, the original location (Weed, CA) and things like their "friend in need" activities smoothed the approval process, etc.
  16. Homers_Beer_Odyssey

    Homers_Beer_Odyssey Initiate (0) Jun 17, 2014 New York

    Old_Hippy likes this.
  17. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Too late. They already approved it.
  18. Old_Hippy

    Old_Hippy Initiate (16) Apr 12, 2016 Connecticut

    AM I the only one who thinks you didn't finish typing? "without the government being our micromanaging mother..."?
    5thOhio likes this.
  19. Badfish

    Badfish Initiate (73) Sep 6, 2013 Tennessee

  20. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,099) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I'm sure I don't know what you mean.
    Old_Hippy likes this.
  21. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,262) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Theirs is an interesting story, even with a legal challenge outside of the "Try Legal Weed" slogan. I recall different imagery and package design than the current label (which features the arch built to mark the gateway to the town) -- most breweries alter their branding and package design as they expand.

    But their name, slogan, and branding is certainly not incidental:
    No doubt the naming of Mountain High IPA and Shastafarian Porter is similarly playful.

    I first learned of them when they purchased the original brewing system from local (to me) Summit Brewing Company. :slight_smile:
  22. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Oh for sure I agree with all you say that it's not incidental or coincidental. Some of Terrapin's beers are named with double entendre as well. But notice that on his applicaton forms he can, with a straight face, call it Weed Brewing since there is a precedence for naming breweries after their location, e.g., Philadelphia Brewing, Brooklyn Brewing, etc. And it certainly is legal to buy Weed beers in CA and now CT. :slight_smile:

    BTW it's my understanding that if you design a new label it has to be approved just as the original may have been.
    #62 drtth, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
    Chaz likes this.
  23. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (668) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    This is a good point rarely stated in these sorts of discussions. Government regulations don't happen in a vacuum; they reflect society in some way, even if some people don't agree [just like society at large]. So, if a government body objects to a label, there's a very good chance someone else out there would object too and cause the company legal headaches. So, as onerous as some rules my seem, following them can offer companies/individuals some protection from potentially [expensive] legal troubles with someone else who objects. At the very least they can say we followed all applicable rules and an independent entity reviewed and accepted this.
  24. Old_Hippy

    Old_Hippy Initiate (16) Apr 12, 2016 Connecticut

    That's fine - Legally, I am sure I don't know what I mean either!
  25. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Yep. We've already seen some of that happening with brewers who didn't trademark their brewery name and/or the name of a particular beer. Similarly labels have run into troubles in more than one state, e.g., the Founders baby eating mush label.
    #65 drtth, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  26. mwa423

    mwa423 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2007 Ohio

    Apparently you're incapable of putting thought into context of what I'm saying...and you accuse me of trolling. Wow.... If you read what I bolded above, I would say any of the claims you mentioned (Nobel prize, etc) those would fall under the category of "magnificently stupid". Also, you miss the most important point (which I've bolded and italicized so you're sure not to miss it) which is that alcohol is the only food/beverage product I'm aware of which must get government approval IN ADVANCE.

    I'm terribly sorry I didn't include (what I thought was obvious) that I was discussing consumable products (not chemicals, medicines, farm machinery or god knows what other pointless example you'll bring up). Allow me to type slowly and use small words to repeat my above point: There is no reason that the government needs to "approve" a food/beverage item's packaging label in advance of sales and marketing. Should a manufacturer make completely unreasonable, unsubstantiated or untrue claims on packaging, there is already a method for the government and consumers to address that. It's called the court system.

    We don't need the government to protect us from the following things (there's a lot more label prohibitions I personally disagree with, but some get pretty complicated):

    "(3) Any statement, design, device, or representation which is obscene or indecent." - I simply believe that the other two tiers of beer sales and customer preferences will handle this process on it's own. Simply, that if a brewery wishes to make an obscene/indecent label (and this is an arbitrary standard anyway) stores probably won't put it on shelves. Those stores which do cater to a clientele who may appreciate obscene things on a label already exist and I don't see a problem with obscene products being marketed there.

    "(6) A trade or brand name that is the name of any living individual of public prominence, or existing private or public organization, or is a name that is in simulation or is an abbreviation thereof, or any graphic, pictorial, or emblematic representation of any such individual or organization, if the use of such name or representation is likely falsely to lead the consumer to believe that the product has been endorsed, made, or used by, or produced for, or under the supervision of, or in accordance with the specifications of, such individual or organization: Provided, That this paragraph shall not apply to the use of the name of any person engaged in business as a producer, importer, bottler, packer, wholesaler, retailer, or warehouseman, of malt beverages, nor to the use by any person of a trade or brand name that is the name of any living individual of public prominence, or existing private or public organization, provided such trade or brand name was used by him or his predecessors in interest prior to August 29, 1935." - This appears to tell me I can't make Michael Jordan (a living individual of public prominence) ale in a red Chicago Bulls can. Do you think nobody has made Michael Jordan cookies because they haven't thought of it yet? No, because there are still laws about this sort of thing which don't require advance governmental approval. Pretty sure that marks related to Jordan/the Bulls are trademarked, etc.

    (f) Use of words “strong,” “full strength,” and similar words. Labels shall not contain the words “strong,” “full strength,” “extra strength,” “high test,” “high proof,” “pre-war strength,” “full oldtime alcoholic strength,” or similar words or statements, likely to be considered as statements of alcoholic content, unless required by State law. This does not preclude use of the terms “low alcohol,” “reduced alcohol,” “non-alcoholic,” and “alcohol-free,” in accordance with §7.71 (d), (e), and (f), nor does it preclude labeling with the alcohol content in accordance with §7.71. - If somebody wants to make "full strength it'll getcha drunk ale" I don't see the problem. For those customers who wish to intoxicate themselves, it'll help them identify the products they are looking for. For those customers wishing to drink more responsibly, it'll probably send them to another product. Why is an alcoholic beverage marked as "strong" something bad?

    As I said above, there are many other things I take issue with in the TTB prohibitions (available here: http://www.ttb.gov/beer/labeling.shtml ) but the main issue here is that I don't think that anybody should have to seek governmental approval in advance of creating a product label for consumers. It doesn't have to happen with thousands of other food/beverage products, and somehow we haven't ended up with some crazy world of snake oil/deceptive product labels on every shelf of the grocery store. The other side of that is the manufacturer is of course liable for what they choose to put on packages.

    I'd even be happy with the following compromise: Leave all the TTB labeling prohibitions in place (regardless of how much I dislike some of them because there are a few which are reasonable, especially considering the FDA's limited legal purview over alcohol) but don't require ADVANCE GOVERNMENT APPROVAL before marketing the product. Just like every other product out there, it gives the market the opportunity to decide what products should/shouldn't exist.
    tillmac62 likes this.
  27. mwa423

    mwa423 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2007 Ohio

    Courts have already decided that there is no safe harbor in the TTB regulations, meaning that "just because the TTB said it was ok on the label, doesn't mean that it is". So, your statement about "saving the company legal headaches" is already settled as untrue. Quoting people who seem to be actual lawyers:

    "Putting last week’s decision into perspective, we now have three judicial decisions concluding that TTB label approval does not insulate producers from the potentially misleading claims on their labels (Welk, Nowrouzi, and Hofmann v. Fifth Generation, Inc.), and three decisions concluding that terms like “handcrafted” and “handmade” are mere puffery and therefore non-actionable (Welk, Nowrouzi, and Salters v. Beam Suntory Inc.). Only one of these decisions—Hofmann—has gone entirely against the brand (Tito) to the point where the court found that the safe harbor doctrine did not apply, and, that the specific term at issue is not puffery. - See more at: http://www.bevlaw.com/bevlog/alcoho...-safe-harbor-is-required#sthash.NiIjebkq.dpuf"
    tillmac62 likes this.
  28. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Notice that persuading someone not to engage in an action is also a protective function and side effect of laws and legal decisions. It often happens without having to go to court but is not cited or even often recognized as a form of legal protection.
    Ranbot likes this.
  29. Cannibalgasm

    Cannibalgasm Initiate (0) Jan 31, 2015 Minnesota

    Personally I think this is absolute bullshit. Glad I saved the empties from last year, looks like they are a part of history now.
    Old_Hippy likes this.
  30. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (668) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I never said regulatory compliance grants immunity or meant to imply it. I don't think I stated the hyperbolic strawman argument you paint, but maybe I was unclear. I only meant that compliance with regulations offers some degree of confidence that it could be [not will be] upheld in court or potentially dissuade an entity from pursuing legal action in the first place as @drtth points out above.
  31. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,381) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Actually, what I thought you were saying was not what either @mwa423 said nor what you just said.

    I thought what you were saying was that it a priori disallowed a label that might be (or even probably would be) the subject of a later consumer complaint, saving the brewer the hassle likely to come down the road.

    If that was at least a part of your point, that is the job of a business manager or a mother, and should not be the job of a government bureaucrat. Many of us don't want or need the government to provide us all a nice, safe, easy chair to sleep in.
    tillmac62, cavedave and mwa423 like this.
  32. mwa423

    mwa423 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2007 Ohio

    (this is also an indirect response to @drtth as well)

    My statement isn't hyperbolic at all, in the three cases above one of the defenses was that the TTB approved the label and so the lawsuit has no merit. In all three cases, that argument was shot out of the sky. So, if anybody ever had a belief that there could be some protection in court, that belief was clearly misplaced. Of course it's possible that there are people who were dissuaded from taking legal action because of label approval at some point in history, but that's a purely hypothetical.

    You made the point in your earlier post that (in theory) government regulations are a reflection of society, the reality is that society changes much faster than government regulations and society is very different across the country. Something that is/isn't acceptable today in one place may/may not be socially acceptable next year as society's views change or in a different part of the country. As such, I believe that this comes down to a free speech issue, a place where I believe less government intervention is always the better.
    tillmac62 likes this.
  33. mickyge

    mickyge Poo-Bah (1,947) Nov 1, 2014 Massachusetts

    what if the brewer's name was Larry Sam Dean, and is one of my favorite beers infused with the dust of Zombie's?
  34. emount91

    emount91 Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2015 Connecticut

    name? no.

    ingredients? yes.
    cavedave likes this.
  35. Homers_Beer_Odyssey

    Homers_Beer_Odyssey Initiate (0) Jun 17, 2014 New York

    There are at least ten beers with Crack in the name. That's permitted?
    tillmac62 likes this.
  36. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,099) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    How do I get this government to stop protecting me from the art and names on beer labels?

    And folks wonder why I am not a D, or an R, but an L.
    mwa423 likes this.
  37. HeavensGoblet

    HeavensGoblet Initiate (63) Apr 21, 2015 Massachusetts

    in my post i never said anything about CONTENT (aka info included on a label). If you read the rest of my post, I STRONGLY believe in regulation of content, and in fact, i think there should be even more to protect people with food allergies. I merely meant label design, like the picture/design on a label.
  38. hophugger

    hophugger Poo-Bah (2,451) Mar 5, 2014 Virginia

    Consenting adults should be the ones browsing beers, so let them decide whether to buy it, look at it or drink it. Freedom of speech !
  39. riverlen

    riverlen Aspirant (215) Sep 16, 2009 Illinois

    I always drink LSD. LSD, of course, is Lenny's Special Drink.
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