Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Bad Elves, Randy Santas…

By William Brand
Saturday, November 25th, 2006 at 9:53 am in Uncategorized.

Am I a prude or what? I think the Santa Claus labels below suck. Let me explain.

The Shelton Brothers, Daniel, his two brothers and a friend, who are based in Belchertown, MA. import some of the world’s most iconic beer, great beer like Fantome from Belgium.

Now they’re sued the state of New York because the state licensing authority has refused to allow several “Christmas-spoofing” labels on beer from Ridgeway Brewing, South Stoke, Oxfordshire in the UK. The state argues that the labels might attract children to beer or might harm or frighten them.

Here’s Dan Shelton’s argument in his own words:

“It’s very strange that New York, a state that we think of as more progressive, is the only state among the 45 states or so in which we sell beer to ban these labels on this dubious ‘underage drinking’ rationale. Santa Claus, elves, and red-nosed reindeer may have persuasive influence on the four-to-six age group, but we think it’s safe to assume that tots are not interested in alcoholic drink, and wouldn’t have any chance at all of buying any even if they were interested. For the late-teens who are really at risk for underage drinking, these symbols of the Christmas season are not cool in the least. On the contrary.”

“We don’t have any market among underage drinkers, and we certainly don’t want one. These labels were always intended to appeal to adults, not kids, and they have in fact been wildly popular with the over-21 crowd that has the money to afford them. They usually run to about five or six bucks a bottle, after all. We are by no means insensitive to the problem of teen drinking, and we applaud the New York State Liquor Authority’s focus on the issue. We just don’t think that that issue has anything to do with this case.”

About the labels. I think the Bad Elf labels are funny. I see nothing wrong with them. But the Santa Claus labels are in horrible taste, to say the least. Anything to make a buck, I guess.

What do you think? Post a comment here or e-mail me at And Merry Xmas to you. Ho. Ho. Hee. Hee.


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