Alabama bans beer brand over dirty name on label

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — You can buy Fat Bastard wine in Alabama, but you’ll have to go elsewhere for Dirty Bastard beer.

The state alcoholic beverage control agency said Thursday it has banned the sale of that brand of beer in the state because of the profanity on its label.

Beer and wine are commonly sold in grocery and convenience stores and anyone can see the labels, so staff members rejected the brand because parents may not want young people to see rough language on the shelves, said Bob Martin, an attorney with the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

“That’s the whole reason for the rule, to keep dirty pictures and dirty words away from children,” he said. “Personally, I believe the staff made the right call.”

Workers at the agency consulted sources including the Federal Communications Commission and Wikipedia to develop a list of objectionable words that should not appear on product labels, Martin said, and the list includes “bastard.”

The state allows the sale of Fat Bastard wine and also approved the sale of another brand of beer called Raging Bitch, Martin said, but both of those decisions were made years ago.

“I have no idea how or why or exactly when that went through,” he said.

He said the agency considered revoking those earlier approvals when it denied the application for Dirty Bastard, but officials decided against such action.

The maker of Dirty Bastard, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Founders Brewing Co., can appeal the decision to the agency’s board, which meets next month. A company spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Alabama gained notice a few years ago for banning a wine brand that featured a nude nymph on its label. Its decision on the beer is opposed by Free The Hops, a group that advocates for new beer brands in Alabama.

More than one-third of Alabama’s 67 counties still prohibit the sale of alcohol, and all but two counties in north Alabama are dry.

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