Flying Dog Terminates Brewers Association Membership Over Censorship Concerns

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Rebecca, Jul 14, 2017.

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  1. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Well when folks insist that there is some right not to be outraged it is hard not to be insultive, no matter how careful we libertarians are to avoid it. Really? A right not to be outraged? I am libertarian, and I must say that I don't believe we have this right.

    Observing that folks who are opposed to labeling they find offensive, that is not offensive to many others, leads inexorably to the conclusion that the folks who are offended have (more) delicate sensibilities. This isn't insultive, it is an observation that is neutral. Observing that folks who welcome agencies to be restrictive in this way have a mommy state mentality is not insultive, it is just an accurate observation, and neutral.
  2. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Hmmm, so a voluntary membership association (not an agency) and their voting membership have no right to determine how their intellectual property may be used and by whom?
  3. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Well, you quoted me but could be you intended to quote someone else? Since you respond to points I didn't make?

    I believe people have no right not to be outraged, and I believe that people who welcome agencies to be restrictive in this way are mommy staters. I said folks who are more readily outraged by packaging have (more) delicate sensibiltities. If you disagree with these things maybe we can have a conversation.
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  4. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    But the only party outraged in the FD, BA issue is Caruso. There are no agencies or people involved. So I guess I don't really understand the relevance of your original post or the one I replied to.
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  5. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    I agree. You don't.
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  6. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    So you're not really interested in having a conversation on this issue. I can understand that. It's just fine.
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  7. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Issue? What issue? In the post you first quoted I responded to someone talking about a right I disagreed we have. If you believe we have some basic right, inherent or written, not to be outraged, let's talk I am talking about how people involved in this, and the broader, discussion are, I said the characteristics of the folks who welcome agencies to be restrictive of packaging are mommy staters and react out of (more) delicate sensibilities. Disagree?
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  8. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    You are moving the topic way beyond what is actually happening, e.g., talking about the folks who are welcoming agencies to be restrictive. There is none of that going on here. The central issue is that a private organization is exercising it's rights and the owner of an organization which is/was a part of that organization is protesting that and dropping out.

    So I don't see any pc issues involved. I don't see any agencies involved. I don't seen anyone being outraged about images or language use. What I see are folks saying both parties have the right to do what they have done.

    So where are all these mommy state folks you see welcoming agencies to be restrictive?

    That's why your rant in two different posts seems to me to be irrelevant to what is actually happening.
  9. peteboiler

    peteboiler Zealot (654) Dec 16, 2010 Florida

    I applaud and respect the owner of Flying Dog for doing this. The 'rules' themselves are not the point, IMO. He is standing true to himself, his company, and his beliefs.
  10. lordofthemark

    lordofthemark Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2015 Virginia

    AFAICT, no beer consumers in this situation are claiming a right to not be outraged. They are claiming a right to not purchase beers with names they don't like for reasons that make sense to them. BA believes that using those names in awards would lower the value of the GABF rewards.

    In any free society, people have the right to their personal standards, and private organizations to their own decisions. You can no more force someone to like the word bitch, than you can force someone to like a jalapeno IPA.
  11. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    A brewer with pretty dumb packaging that works for some, and an organization looking for relevancy is a small tempest in a small teapot, to me. Dammit!
    Lone_Freighter and Squire like this.
  12. LADEDA

    LADEDA Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

  13. thebeers

    thebeers Grand Pooh-Bah (5,151) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The state (ie, government) has absolutely nothing to do with this case, and no one is calling for the state to censor anything. Morons can continue putting childish crap on their labels and sell it in any store that's willing to carry it to any consumer that's willing to buy it. Just cuz someone doesn't want to be associated with your product because they find it sexist, racist or homophobic doesn't make you oppressed. Nor does it make you a champion of free speech.
  14. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Maven (1,436) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    What a rambling, hyperbolic, intellectually bankrupt, strawman-laden pile of BS. Kudos to Caruso for being savvy enough to fly the flag of "freedom" and grab some mindshare for the first time in god knows how long. Too bad he couldn't do it by brewing a decent beer.

    As a staunch supporter of private property rights, I am completely behind the BA's decision. They're not saying "your beers can't compete" or "your beers will be disqualified." They're not even saying "we're not going to acknowledge your victory if we don't like your beer's name." Presumably, all winners will be acknowledged on the GABF website as they are currently. All they seem to be saying is "you can't use our IP in your marketing efforts."

    The BA has its own brand and its own mission, and if they think that being associated with "offensive" beer labels/names is detrimental then they have every right to protect their brand. It's not the BA's mission to change people's opinions on what's offensive. It is, however, in their interest to recognize that some people will be offended by certain beers and to still make an effort to pull those people into the tent of craft beer drinkers. It is also in the interest of the BA's lobbying efforts to maintain a certain level of professionalism, which may be hampered by having their IP sitting on "offensive" beer packaging.

    Flying Dog is well within their rights to pull out of the BA if they disagree with its organizational stance, but they can take a flying f**k for their moralistic, bullsh*t posturing.
  15. MissFeisty

    MissFeisty Initiate (0) Dec 18, 2012 California

    Good for FD. Between this and the new "Independent" seal, the BA is starting to rub me the wrong way.
  16. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I was always amazed that North Carolina "approved" the Flying Dog beer names and packaging. I've seen the state not approve packaging that wasn't so obviously explicit. The boys in Raleigh even saw fit to eventually approve the naked babe sitting in the lap of a mash up of the devil on Cantillon's Rose de Gambrinus. It ain't the gumment! None of this offends me, but the defensiveness of Flying Dog's reaction seems a bit odd. Something seems to be missing from this story.
    drtth likes this.
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    An extract of the letter that Jim Caruso sent to Bob Pease of the Brewers Association:

    “June 14, 2017
    Bob Pease
    President and CEO Brewers Association
    1327 Spruce Street
    Boulder, CO 80302

    Dear Bob,

    I write this letter in follow up to our discussions about the Brewers Association’s announcement that it is going to crack down on offensive beer labels.

    The BA refers to this crackdown in various ways: a marketing initiative...a policy. Regardless of what you wish to call it, it is an attempt by the BA to censor beer names that offend the sensibilities of some at the BA, primarily by trying to intimidate breweries into censoring themselves. Self-censorship may seem less awful than direct censorship, but bullying people into self- censorship is a particularly vicious tyranny of silence.”

    It appears to me that Jim Caruso and Bob Pease had a conversation on this topic at the recent CBC. It seems that the conversation did not go well from the perspective of Jim Caruso and upon further consideration he reached a decision that he did not agree with the Brewers Association position on this matter and felt like he had to terminate his membership in the Brewers Association.

    I agree with the statement that Jim Caruso made of “Flying Dog believes that consumers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves what choices are right for them…”

    I would suggest that Occam's razor applies here and it is simply a matter of Jim Caruso highly valuing freedom of expression/speech and he thinks that this marketing code/initiative/policy of the Brewers Association violates his views.

    In my opinion Jim Caruso did the appropriate thing to terminate the membership of Flying Dog in the Brewers Association given these conditions.

  18. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Grand Pooh-Bah (3,003) Jul 27, 2013 Texas
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Good for Flying Dog.

    Let people vote with their wallet.

    Don't tell breweries how to market their beer...let them run their business.
    VABA, eldoctorador and JackHorzempa like this.
  19. LADEDA

    LADEDA Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Is the Backwoods Bastard a marked man?
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  20. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I wonder if they are going to brew something related to this that will have an outrageous name and label.
    HermitDan likes this.
  21. HermitDan

    HermitDan Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2016 New Jersey

    I really hope they do
  22. thebeers

    thebeers Grand Pooh-Bah (5,151) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    "Weenie Wagging Wit" maybe?
    HermitDan likes this.
  23. nc41

    nc41 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Good for them, they're labels aren't offensive , and if they were the state would step in. Labels make them a bit different not generic marketing the association would prefer. The association does exactly what for them anyway?
  24. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well in the past their sales, as do those of most GABF medal winners, have benefitted from the recognition they got when winning a GABF brewery of the year award and Gold medals for some of their beers.
  25. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2014 Pennsylvania

    If it an independence thing they should call it "lone wolf", it'll match their style.
    HermitDan likes this.
  26. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The BA has no problem with Flying Dog's beers or labels; it's in the o.p.

    There are much more blatantly sexist labels out there, and that seems to be the catalyst for the BA's (rather tame, imo) actions on the matter.
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  27. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Hmmm, I guess this means that going forward Flying Dog won't be entering their beers in any BA sponsored competition such as the GABF. The only place any possible BA ruling might apply is to not allowing medal award winners to advertise their medals using the BA name if they win GABF medals, and even then only going forward from when the review panel judgment was made.

    Even then, for any ruling to take place it must be first supported by an independent review panel and that panel will be called upon only after a complaint has been registered and not resolved between the brewery and whoever is doing the complaining. The feds and many states don't even use an independent review panel when deciding to approve or not approve a label.

    I wonder if Flying Dog will now go ahead and remove their self-promotional mentions of having won various GABF awards?

    It's already been well over a month since they pulled out, so I guess maybe they have conveniently forgotten to update their web-site to show they are no longer having anything to do with the BA.
    #67 drtth, Jul 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  28. MNAle

    MNAle Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Maybe I'm cynical (OK, I'm definitely cynical...), but this whole thing sounds suspiciously more like a publicity grab than a principled stand.

    • Making a letter to the BA public.
    • BA was not taking any notice of their labels anyway.
    • BA has no real authority to do anything about their labels, even if they were taking notice.
    • IF BA had taken any action at all, THEN would be the time for a stand on principle.
    • Flying Dog decided to go ahead with their letter anyway, even though they are "taking a stand" against nothing, apparently.
    • And, their "stand" does not include removing GABF brags.
  29. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts

    questions i have: are they still allowed to enter contests and if successful, to advertise in simple print/text (no trademarked logos) that they are award winners of these specific competitions sponsored by the BA, but simply cannot use the BA's medal logos/graphics? or does the restriction apply even to mentioning the formal names of the competitions themselves? i presume that the name "GABF" is trademarked, so perhaps this is included in "intellectual property"?
  30. Squire

    Squire Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi

    I don't see a problem with Flying Dog displaying medals they've won in any competition. They won 'em, they own 'em.
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  31. Squire

    Squire Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi

    It also occurs, and I'm literally reading between the lines here, that some conflicting personalities are involved.
  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The Brewers Association probably disagrees, and has the signed License Agreement to back it up.
    See pg. 26-27 GABF REGISTRATION
    DonicBoom, TongoRad and drtth like this.
  33. Ranbot

    Ranbot Pooh-Bah (2,327) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    You missed one...
    • Flying Dog has a long history of pulling similar publicity stunts.
    Urk1127 likes this.
  34. Squire

    Squire Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi

    So the penalty for violating the License Agreement is what, getting kicked out of the Brewers Association? Such agreements are enforceable for the duration of membership but any attempt to enjoin a former member would be problematic. Such agreements are strictly construed by Courts and attempts to enforce restrictive language post facto are routinely voided by Judges as a matter of public policy.

    Of course a brewer could continue to promote their beer as Gold Medal winner without even mentioning the competition where the medal was awarded. Many people know Pabst was awarded the Blue Ribbon but very few know who gave the award.
  35. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    While I seriously doubt the intent of the BA decision is to retroactively attempt to enforce a new policy, their logo, awards, etc. are trademarked intellectual property owned by the BA. So going forward they can bring legal action against anyone who, based on future competition wins uses their name and trademarked materials in self-promotion without their permission.

    As for Flying Dog continuing to use their previous GABF awards in self-promotion it lacks a certain degree of moral consistency and principle that is inconsistent with their stated principle and reasons for bailing out. In other words they would be hypocritical if they continue using their prior awards by the BA in their self-promotion even though they may be legally allowed to do so. In my book that would make them worse than what they think they are seeing, rightly or wrongly, and choosing to protest.
    DonicBoom and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  36. Reemer686

    Reemer686 Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2014 Maryland

    AB Inbev already tried to make an offer to Flying Dog a few years ago and they turned it down. I highly doubt they would change their mind now and try to court them.
  37. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    I completely understand this. Would simply be useful if other brewers take note, however. Even though good beer doesn't sell itself, it doesn't need attention whoring to do so. Just a good marketing plan and solid branding.
  38. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Having fun is one thing. Vulgarity and misogyny is another. Sexual Chocolate is a reference to a skit in Coming To America. A very funny skit, IMO. To what are the FD beer names in reference? Certainly nothing funny or fun, as far as I can see. They garner nothing more than shock value and I, maybe for one, find that unfortunate not only for them, but for the beer industry as a whole.
  39. JayORear

    JayORear Grand Pooh-Bah (3,012) Feb 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Bingo. But you're going to have a harder time finding folks on this site owning up to systemic misogyny than admitting to drinking AB Inbev beers on the regular. This is nothing more than cheap publicity from a mediocre-at-best, misogynistic-at-worst, brewery.
  40. Squire

    Squire Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi

    That is a logical conclusion but unfortunately the commonality between law and logic is both words start with the letter L.

    For instance an award given at a competition (trophy, plaque, medal) becomes the personal property of the recipient and the law treats personal property differently than intellectual property.

    Money is the gist of any intellectual property fight and in this particular instance I don't see where the Association has suffered harm and in fact may be shooting themselves in the foot by attempting to prevent a former member from advertising the fact they won a medal.
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