BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than a year after winning a six-year legal battle that pitted them and their “Raging Bitch” beer against the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, Frederick-based Flying Dog is using the damages they won in the case to establish an organization that supports First Amendment rights.
The United States Court of Appeals ruled last March that the commissioners violated the company’s right to freedom of expression when they banned the sale of Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA in the state.
“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.
“It’s imperative that we continue this fight beyond the courtroom.”
A launch event for the 1st Amendment Society will be held May 31 in the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge in D.C.
When Raging Bitch was released in 2009, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission promptly banned it from being sold in the state, deeming the beer “detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the general public.”
Erin Weston, Flying Dog’s senior director of communications, will serve as executive director of the 1st Amendment Society.
This summer, she plans to establish a scholarship for the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and hold a series of lectures on banned books. It will kick off with Garrett Epps, contributing editor for The Atlantic and University of Baltimore law professor on June 8 at Flying Dog Brewery.