Maine authorities say the label for Santa’s Butt Winter Porter appeals to children.
ORTLAND, Maine/AP – 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 U.S. District, 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 episode is reminiscent of 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. 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. The other two labels are considered inappropriate because they show bare-breasted women.
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