Flying Dog Brewery, responsible for the Raging Bitch IPA, is taking the winnings from a long legal battle and using it to start a free speech group.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit awarded Flying Dog Brewery $40,000 in March of 2015. Now, the brewery is using the money to create a nonprofit called the 1st Amendment Society to combat censorship and promote free speech, Reason reports.
“The First Amendment affects (and makes possible) all aspects of our lives, yet is consistently being threatened by the same democratic body that established it,” Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso said in a statement. “It’s imperative that we continue this fight beyond the courtroom.”
The Maryland brewery’s fight began when the Michigan Liquor Control Commission refused to approve its label, saying it was inappropriate because of its profanity and art work, which features a twisted image of a dog. The commission reversed their decision in 2011, but the brewery still took them to court in order to set a legal precedent.
“We were like, ‘OK, thanks, but that’s actually not the point,’” Erin Weston, Flying Dog’s senior director of communications and now executive director of the society, told The Baltimore Sun. “The point is we wanted somebody to make the call that these five commissioners and their arbitrary decision was unconstitutional.”
The brewery won that battle and was awarded a hefty sum. Now, Flying Dog Brewery continues the battle by promoting free speech, and the organization’s launch date is May 31.
“In this day and age of hyper connectivity, taking a step back to educate people on the basics of the First Amendment is more important than ever,” Weston said in a statement. “Then, we can all collectively understand how it’s being threatened in our day-to-day lives.”
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