FREDERICK, Maryland – As colder weather looms near, Flying Dog Brewery’s Freezin’ Season Winter Ale – the headline grabbing beer first released in 2021 – returns to shelves this month. Controversy surrounded Freezin’ Season’s launch when North Carolina censors banned the sale of Freezin’ Season in their state. But the dog fought the law and the dog won, and after a resounding victory for the First Amendment, Flying Dog is releasing the beer again this year just in time for Free Speech Week.
Upon its release, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission (NC ABC) made the sale of Freezin’ Season illegal in their state because they didn’t think that adults should be allowed to decide for themselves what beers to purchase. The brewery was notified that its label for Freezin’ Season – illustrated by world-renowned artist Ralph Steadman and depicting a cartoon character standing by a fire – was rejected by the Commission for, inexplicably, being in “bad taste.”
Ardent defenders of free speech and freedom of expression, Flying Dog sued the NC ABC for violating its First Amendment rights. In May of 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled in favor of Flying Dog. According to the federal court judge, NC ABC’s regulation allowing it to ban labels that the commissioners in their sole discretion and personal opinion feel are “undignified, immodest, or in bad taste” is indeed a violation of the First Amendment.
“Fights to protect freedom of expression, as with all individual rights, are always fought at the margin – over issues like beer labels,” said Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog Brewery. “In a case like this, it also highlights the lack of respect self-appointed government censors have for the self-determination of consumers. We believe that adults are smart enough to decide for themselves what books to read, what music to listen to, what movies to stream or what beers to buy.”
This marked another victory for the brewery that has a long history fighting against government censorship. Before the brewery went to court in North Carolina, it won previous First Amendment cases in both Colorado and Michigan over beer labels. Now in 2022, Freezin’ Season is hitting shelves in advance of Free Speech Week (Oct 17 – 23, 2022), a yearly event dedicated to raising public awareness about the importance of protecting free speech in our democracy.
If your sensibilities aren’t offended by a cartoon man standing by a fire created by Ralph Steadman, one of the true artists in the world, grab a 6-pack and snuggle up to this 7.4% ABV winter warmer this season. This spiced winter ale works from the inside, ratcheting up your inner temps with each delicious sip of dark fruit flavors on top of a malty backbone. And with an aroma reminiscent of baked cherry pie, Freezin’ Season is the ideal beer for crisp air and impending seasonal affective disorder.
Freezin’ Season Winter Ale will be sold in 6-packs of 12oz bottles and should start appearing on shelves by mid-October. Consumers are encouraged to visit the brewery’s Beer Finder to locate inventory near them.
About Flying Dog Brewery
As the 35th largest craft brewery in the U.S., Flying Dog has a reputation for brewing premium beer that pushes the confines of traditional styles out of our home base in Frederick, MD. From hop-heavy favorites like The Truth Imperial IPA and Double Dog Double IPA to left-of-the-dial best sellers like Kujo Cold Brew Coffee Porter and Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale – we take pride in challenging the status quo. Our brand is built on the gospel of Gonzo, drawing inspiration from Hunter S. Thompson’s relentless truth seeking and Ralph Steadman’s provocative drawings. In the true gonzo spirit, when authoritarians have tried to censor our creativity, we’ve gone to Federal court defending our right to free speech and expression and won. At Flying Dog, we challenge conformity, embrace the weird, and encourage you to Cut The Leash and reclaim your independence.
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