Index on Censorship is standing with our free speech friends at Flying Dog Brewery who've just been told by the UK drinks censor that they should stop selling one of the beers because the artwork by award-winning artist Ralph Steadman might
encourage immoderate drinking.
Flying Dog was told that the Portman Group deemed the artwork for its Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale could spur people to drink irresponsibly.
We think this is nonsense and are pleased Flying Dog plans to ignore this ruling.
The press release sent by Flying Dog Brewery is below:
Flying Dog Brewery Will Not Comply with Regulatory Group's Ruling on Easy IPA
Flying Dog Brewery has been defending free speech and creative expression in the United States for more than 25 years. Now, it's taking a stand in the United Kingdom.
In May 2018, the Portman Group, a third-party organization that evaluates alcohol-related marketing, allegedly received a single complaint from a person who thought that Flying Dog's Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale could be mistaken for a soft
After months of deliberation, the Portman Group issued a final ruling, claiming that the packaging artwork ...directly or indirectly encourages illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as binge drinking, drunkenness or
drunk-driving. It will be issuing a Retailer Alert Bulletin on 15 October, which will ask retailers not to place orders for the beer.
Notwithstanding the Portman Group's ruling, Flying Dog has decided to continue to distribute Easy IPA in the United Kingdom.
Jim Caruso, Flying Dog CEO said:
Not surprisingly, the alleged complaint -- by a sole individual -- that a product labeled 'Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale' might be mistaken for a soft drink was, we believe, correctly dismissed by the Portman Group, That should have
been the end of it. However, the Portman Group then went on to ban the creative and carefree Easy IPA label art by the internationally-renowned UK artist Ralph Steadman.
Steadman has illustrated all of Flying Dog's labels since 1995. In the ruling, the Portman Group claims that the artwork of this low-ABV beer could be seen as encouraging drunkenness.
Without question, over-consumption, binge drinking and drunk-driving are serious health and public safety issues, and Flying Dog has always advocated for moderation and responsible social drinking, Caruso said. At the same time, there is no
evidence to suggest that the whimsical Ralph Steadman art on the Easy IPA label causes any of those problems. We believe that British adults can think for themselves and Flying Dog, an independent U.S. craft brewer, will not honor the Portman
Group's request to discontinue shipping Easy IPA to the UK.
The drinks censors of the Portman Group tried to justify their ban in their summary release:
A complaint about Easy IPA has been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel.
The complainant, a member of the public, believed that the drink, which is produced by Flying Dog Brewery, appealed to under 18s. While the Panel concluded that the product did not have direct appeal to under-18s, the Panel investigated whether
the product packaging encouraged immoderate consumption.
The Panel noted that the front of the can contained the terms Easy IPA, and Session IPA, which is a commonly used descriptor in the craft beer category. However, they also noted that the original meaning of the phrase was a prolonged drinking
session. Although the Panel did not consider these terms to be problematic if used in the right context, when used alongside an image of an inebriated looking creature balancing on one leg presented an indication of drunkenness. Accordingly,
Panel upheld the decision.
John Timothy, Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, commented: We are disappointed that Flying Dog Brewery do not appear to respect the decision or the process. Producers need to be extremely sensitive about the overall impact of their
labelling. Use of a phrase that could have been innocuous on its own has taken on a different meaning when considered alongside a drunken looking character.
Peter Rabbit is a 2018 UK / Australia / USA family animation comedy by Will Gluck.
Starring Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki.
Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden.
Filmmakers behind a new adaptation of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit have been forced to apologise after facing calls for it to be banned from cinemas over a scene in which the protagonist and his furry friends deliberately pelt an allergic man
Allergy UK claimed the film mocks allergy sufferers and trivialises a life-threatening condition. Carla Jones, the charity's chief executive, said:
Anaphylaxis can and does kill. To include a scene in a children's film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable. Mocking allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of
allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those with this condition. We will be communicating with the production company about the film's withdrawal.
Sony Pictures on Sunday night admitted it should not have made light of Mr McGregor being allergic to blackberries and said it regretted not being more aware and sensitive of the issue.
Peter Rabbit will be show in cinemas in March. It is PG rated for mild threat, comic violence.