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Nanny State of the Week: Feds send LSD Ale on a long, strange trip

By   /   April 11, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 77 of 121 in the series Nanny State of the Week

Minneapolis-based Indeed Brewing is putting a new name on one of its popular spring beers after getting in trouble with the federal government.

Formerly known as LSD Ale, the brewery will now have to use the less entertaining (and absurdly long) title of Lavender, Sunflower Honey, Date Honey Ale to describe its sweet and tasty seasonal brew.  Seriously, how is all of that supposed to fit on the side of a beer can?

Minnesota regulators had no trouble with the old name, and that was fine until this year when Indeed Brewing expanded its distribution across state lines. That’s when the federal government got involved and told the company the beer’s name was no joking matter, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported this week.

“The feds did not like the name LSD,” said Indeed co-founder and co-owner Thomas Whisenand. “They made that clear very quickly.”

Whisenand told the newspaper that the brewery tried to come up with a few different labels that downplayed the offending acronym while still maintaining the hippie-themed design.

“But unfortunately we sell a regulated product and there’s not much you can do when the feds say no,” he said.

OK, let’s just start with the obvious: There’s no LSD in this beer.

If there was, the feds wouldn’t be concerned with telling Indeed to change the name of the brew. They would be too busy arresting the brewers for possession and distribution of a controlled substance.

Also, why are the feds going after LSD Ale when you can still walk into any grocery store in America and buy a box of Special K?

And then there’s a bigger question: Does this mean the federal government is going to start taking all beer names literally?

If so, here’s a few tips that will save a them some time and money.

There are no used bicycle tires in New Belgium Brewery’s signature Fat Tire ale. There are no cow parts in Wisconsin’s famous Spotted Cow beer.  And there is not even a single heart in a keg of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

Obviously, all those names should be changed to reflect complete accuracy about the contents of the beer.

Of course, there are only so many ways to combine the words “grain, water, malt and hops” on a label. But, hey, at least that’s better than allowing businesses to market their product with even an ounce of originality.

This isn’t the first time we’ve been down this road, either.

Multiple states have banned the sale of Founders Brewery’s Oatmeal Breakfast Stout because a baby appears on the label. The baby isn’t drinking beer, or encouraging other youngsters to drink.  He’s simply eating a bowl of oatmeal, but that was enough for regulators in Michigan and New Hampshire to ban the beer entirely (New Hampshire has since rescinded the ban, and the Michigan-based brewery changed the label to appease Michigan lawmakers).

New Belgium Brewing Company got into trouble last year when it collaborated with Ben & Jerry’s to make an ice cream flavored beer, because apparently that’s putting children’s health at risk — or something.

So raise a glass of generic “Beer” to the Nanny State, where originality is frowned upon and the War on Drugs extends to cover the labels on beer cans.

generic beer

Part of 121 in the series Nanny State of the Week
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  2. Nanny-state city of the week: Minneapolis wants to ban take-out trays
  3. Skim is in: CT lawmakers want to ban whole milk in day cares
  4. Nanny state of the week: Fairfax, VA, wants to limit the right to assemble
  5. Nanny state of the week: SC — and Schumer — for duplicative efforts to ban powdered alcohol
  6. Nanny of the Week: Virginia hoses down car wash fundraisers
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  13. Nanny-stater of the week: Wisconsin towns fight repeal of bow ban
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  15. Nanny-stater of the week: DOT to ban cell phone use on planes
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  77. Nanny State of the Week: Feds send LSD Ale on a long, strange trip
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