Frederick Brewery Stands by Offensive Name in Lawsuit with Michigan Liquor Commissioners

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If you’d been stalking me for a little while, you would have noticed that as much as I favor local beers I’ve never bought a bottle of Raging Bitch by Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Maryland. And it’s not just because I find the overhopped India Pale Ale style too perfumy. It’s the name. The unappetizing Ralph Steadman illustration on the label doesn’t help either.

But if I lived in Michigan from 2009 to 2011 (another charming hypothetical!), I wouldn’t have ever had the opportunity to spot the beer in a liquor store, get turned off, and walk out with something else because until 2011 the Michigan Liquor Control Commission banned the sale of Raging Bitch in that state for its offensive name.

Now, a year after the MLCC reversed its decision, Flying Dog has sued the commissioners for lost revenue during the two-year ban, claiming that the ban violated the brewery’s free speech rights. A federal judge in Grand Rapids ruled last week that the commissioners are in fact immune to such lawsuits, since they serve in a judicial capacity. Flying Dog plans to appeal.

I’d love to hear from some R.B. drinkers. Are you a dedicated IPA fan who looks past the name(and the gruesome label)? Or does the beer’s mild offensiveness complement your whole thing that you’re going for?

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