Craft beers can be made or broken based on their label alone. When confronted with a wall-full of options and only a vague idea of what you’re in the mood for, it’s often the branding that will win the day. It’s probably why I first tried Hop Devil, or Sierra Nevada, or Pumpkinhead, for that matter.
So it was with great curiosity and a little trepidation that I digested this spot of news: The State of New Hampshire has banned Founders Brewing’s Breakfast Stout from liquor store shelves and bar fridges. Because its label looks like this.
The ban comes by way of a NH law, which states, according to the Boston Business Journal: “Advertising of liquor or beverages shall not contain: any reference to minors, pictorial or otherwise … ” And so, it would appear, Little Johnny chomping on his oatmeal puts this tasty-sounding beverage in direct violation of New Hampshire’s advertising laws.
Bar owners in New Hampshire are reportedly pissed. So pissed, in fact, that some are holding an event Friday night to protest the ban. The beer, it seems, can still be sold on draft, just not from the bottle.
Admittedly, I’m of a couple minds on this one. The law is clearly in place with good intentions: Breweries probably shouldn’t make a habit of slapping the likeness of minors on the products strictly intended for those over 21. That said, does this particular label offend me? Not really. It’s not like the kid is slugging booze. This was pretty clearly done in jest to reference the oatmeal and chocolate qualities of the beer. Agreed?
In the end, I think NH had to ban it, or else what’s the point of their law? Let this one go, and I fear it becomes a slippery, and unsavory, slope.
What do you think? Holler at us in the comments section below.