[ The state of Maine has banned a beer because its label depicts Santa
Claus enjoying a pint of brew. The state said that the label for
"Santa's Butt Winter Porter" is "undignified and improper" and may
attract children. ]
I understand Maine is concerned about morality and "wrong appeal" to
children, but banning a beer for using the image of Santa is like
banning Playboy magazine for using the image of bunny. Children love
bunnies more than they love beer.
So Maine is barking up the wrong tree here. If you want to clean you
state morals, start with ho, ho, hos on your streets, not on beer
In this contest you are asked to add Santa Claus image to labels,
brands, and products which would be considered inappropriate use of
Santa image. E.g. Santa Claus on alcohol products, condoms, guns,
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This contest is fueled by the following news: A beer distributor says Maine is being a Scrooge by barring it from selling a beer with a label depicting Santa Claus enjoying a pint of brew. 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 dispute recalls a similar squabble last year when Connecticut told Shelton Brothers it had problems with its Seriously Bad Elf ale.
"Last year it was elves. This year it's Santa Claus. Maybe next year it'll be reindeer," said Daniel Shelton, owner of the company in Belchertown, Mass.
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.
"We stand by our decision and at some point it'll go through the court system and somebody will make the decision on whether we are right or wrong," he said.
The lawsuit was brought by the Maine Civil Liberties Union, which says the beer labels are entitled to First Amendment protection.
"There is no good reason for the state to censor art, even art found on a beer label," said Zachary Heiden, staff attorney for the MCLU.
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.