Update on our Federal Lawsuit Against Michigan Liquor Control Commission

We furthered our fight for our First Amendment Rights in Michigan by filing for a motion for preliminary injunction — a request for the court to allow our Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA to be sold while the case is pending. The 34-page motion outlines the arguments and case against the recent Michigan Liquor Control Commission ruling, which banned the sale of our best-selling beer, Raging Bitch, in the state.

The first hearing on the case is set for June 8 at 4 pm in the U.S. District of Western Michigan in Grand Rapids. Both Flying Dog attorney Alan Gura and CEO Jim Caruso will be present. According to court documents, “the purpose of the scheduling conference is to review the joint status report and to explore methods of expediting the disposition of the action.”

With the support of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, we filed suit in U.S. District Court on March 25 to overturn the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s ban on Raging Bitch. The suit also seeks to recover damages from the loss of sales under the statewide ban, which the Commission issued based on its members’ personal distaste for Raging Bitch’s labeling.

The brouhaha began in September 2009, when we applied for a license to sell Raging Bitch, our 20th anniversary commemorative beer, in the state of Michigan. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission barred the sale of Raging Bitch, claiming that the beer’s label — designed by renowned British artist Ralph Steadman — is “detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.”

Chris Kashat says:

I’m a party store owner in Michigan, and I don’t understand while were not allowed to carry raging bitch in Michigan. You should ask them why they allow to sell a wine called “sweet bitch” Our laws don’t make sense sometimes. People should have common sense on who make these laws.

Sam Reed says:

I live in the UK, and work in a local brewery. I am only young still but I love craft beers, and have tried a fair few over the past few years. I have to say that raging bitch is probably one of my all time favorite beers. It seem outrageous to see a local comity ban the sale of such a brilliant beer. Who cares if the label is “detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.” Our society at the moment is pumped full of nudity and sex, to sit there at let them ban something that should be enjoyed by everyone, especially local people of the brewery itself seems absolutely moronic. I bet that every single one of those people that did not allow the sale of “raging bitch” are lager drinkers and pride themselves on “they know what they like”, rather than having the balls to try something new in their lives!. And finally the artwork is unique to this brewery and it gives it soul and passion, and personally think its a really good brand image. GOOD PEOPLE DRINK GOOD BEER!!!!!

[…] Flying Dog Brewery, in order to sell beer in Michigan, was forced to submit all labels to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for approval. Apparently the Michigan Liquor Control Commission had an issue with their Raging Bitch 20th Anniversary Belgian-Style IPA, which featured the text: “If you’re lucky, your bitch will look this sexy after 20 years.” and denied Flying Dog permission to sell the beer in Michigan because it was “detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.” […]

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