In a complaint filed in federal court, Shelton Brothers accuses the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement of censorship for denying applications for labels for Santa's Butt Winter Porter and two other beers it wants to sell in Maine.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday, contends the state's action violates the First Amendment by censoring artistic expression.
But the state says it's within its rights. The label with Santa might appeal to children, said Maine State Police Lt. Patrick Fleming. The other two labels are considered inappropriate because they show bare-breasted women.
Ah, excuse me. Who gives a shit if it "appeals" to children? I'm sure there are plenty of books, both fictional and non-fictional, with cover illustrations that might appeal to children, but that's as far as it goes... unless of course it's a children's book. There are all kinds of things out there that appeal to children but children can't have them. Children can't buy beer!. However, beer is probably better for children than all the crap most parents allow them to have, not to mention the prescribed drugs such a Ritalin, but I digress.
The label for the English-made Santa's Butt Winter Porter features a rear view of a beer-drinking Santa Claus sitting atop a barrel. The beer's name refers not only to Santa's ample backside, but also to the barrel. In England, brewers once used a large barrel called a "butt" to store beer.
Maine also denied label applications for Les Sans Culottes, a French ale, and Rose de Gambrinus, a Belgian fruit beer.
Les Sans Culottes' label is illustrated with detail from Eugene Delacroix's 1830 painting "Liberty Leading the People," which hangs in the Louvre and once appeared on the 100-franc bill. Rose de Gambrinus shows a bare-breasted woman in a watercolor painting commissioned by the brewery.
Here is "Liberty Leading the People" for those of you unfamiliar with it. Shocking, isn't it?
Good grief. This is absurd. It's highly doubtful this seasonal brew would be advertised, much less in media aimed at children a la Joe Cool Camel. Come on, Maine. Don't tread on the rights of adults to enjoy the season.