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Want a 'Raging Bitch' Beer? Not in Michigan

In September 2009, Frederick, Md.-based Flying Dog Brewery learned that its license application to sell its best-selling beer had been rejected by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Why? Because its best-selling beer is called "Raging Bitch," and includes a label with some other choice words.

The Washington Business Journal reports that Flying Dog has now decided to fight back, and filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn the commission's decision and recover damages for its lost sales in Michigan. According to, the MLCC ruled that the language printed on the bottle was “detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public.” Commissioner Patrick Gagliardi specifically pointed to a proposed label inscription of “Remember, enjoying a Raging Bitch, unleashed, untamed, unbridled -- and in heat -- is pure GONZO.”

Flying Dog's lawyer, Alan Gura, stated that the MLCC and its members "have taken it upon themselves to control not merely alcoholic beverages, but speech as well.” Flying Dog claims the ban violates its rights under the First Amendment to free expression.

As the Legal Juice blog observes, Michigan has previously approved beers named "Doggie Style," "In Heat Wheat," and "Dirty Bastard," so "Raging Bitch" doesn't exactly seem beyond the pale. The banned label is below. Gaze upon it at your own risk.


Posted by Bruce Carton on March 31, 2011 at 04:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)


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