The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has reportedly reversed its decision to ban sales of a Maryland-based beer with a controversial name. Flying Dog Brewery has received approval to promote and sell its “Raging Bitch” Belgian- Style IPA in Michigan. According to Flying Dog, the commission has barred the beer’s sale in Michigan since 2009, claiming its label was “detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.” The brewery subsequently filed a First Amendment lawsuit in a Grand Rapids federal court. More information about the lawsuit appears in Issue 388 of this Update.
The commission switched its position after the U.S. Supreme Court recently determined that states cannot engage in “content-based discrimination,” according to a news source. Although calling the move “a victory for craft beer,” Flying Dog has announced that it has no plans to drop its pending lawsuit. “Most companies would take what Michigan did and say, ‘Great, I can sell my beer and move down the road,’” Flying Dog Brewery’s chief executive, Jim Caruso, reportedly said. “We’re not doing that.” See Flying Dog Blog, June 29, 2011; Associated Press, July 1, 2011.