Another Day, More Censorship: This Time its in Canada

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) has deemed a beer label as inappropriate and forbid the sale of Flying Monkeys Brewing’s Smashbomb Atomic IPA.  No, there is no obvious swear word, there is no inappropriate sexual images, just a cartoony label that depicts an explosion on the bottle.  I’m sure when the brewers at Flying Monkeys came up with the name for their brew it was with its flavor in mind.  Its huge bitterness will just blow you away, so they thought of the biggest bang they could think and came up with the name.  The label is just a cartoony depiction of a mushroom cloud explosion.

The reasons given by the LCBO were that they thought in these sensitive times when the US and Britian are raining down bombs on Libya and fighting in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that this label was “insensitive and in bad taste.”  What’s that?  Sirens?…here comes the thought police…

This is wrong on so many levels I can’t even think of them all, but lets just say that I’m really glad I live in America where our rights to free speech are protected by the Constitution.  I know, I know we have our own problems here, but this is a blatant attempt at thought control.  They said that any sort of weapon imagery is a no no.  So what, are they afraid that their citizens are going to go and nuke a few thousand caribou?  I’ll bet that Russian River is glad that their labels are for the US, not Canada.

Here is my solution.  Export all the bottles to the US.  It could be the best beer to come out of Canada since Molsen Golden.  I’m sure they could sell all their product, and they wouldn’t have to redesign their label, and they could stick it to that mind controlling LCBO.  God Save the Queen.


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39 Comments on “Another Day, More Censorship: This Time its in Canada”

  1. April 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    I’m not a big fan of such “catchy” labels, but to ban them is just ridiculous.

    This makes me think of the “Whisky of Mass Distinction” series from Bruichladdich, featuring a rocket, a yellow submarine and a knife. Dies anybody know if these were banned in Canada too?

    • Don
      April 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      I couldn’t tell you Oliver if they were banned or not. It does stand to reason that they would have been in Ontario. They also might hav e been aware of this censorship in that province and redesigned the label for them.

      • April 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

        Those were just small one-off bottlings so the certainly didn’t redesign the labels. And the “weapons” were actually the raison-d’etre for them. Three funny stories that happened to Bruichladdich which made them release the series.

        • Don
          April 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

          My guess then is they skipped over Ontario and their mind controlling censorship. 😉

  2. April 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    I guess no more Tom Jones for them either.

    • Don
      April 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

      OK, I give up. I have no clue what you are referring to.

  3. Alex
    April 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Wow, that label hurts my eyes. Maybe that’s the real reason it was banned?

    • Don
      April 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      That would be a medical reason…more appropriate.

  4. April 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    You guys are up on your beer label censorship stories. This seems a bit ridiculous. While I support limiting violent images, this is a humorous, even cartoonish image for a beer. Where do you all dig these things up? Do you have a Google Alert for “beer label censorship bull shit?”

    • Don
      April 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      You know Zac, we have our spy bots out there. I was wondering your take on this Zac, as you are my barometer for all things insensitive. Glad we are on the same side here, or I might have to go all Idaho on your ass.

      • April 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

        Keep your potatoes to yourself…I get the insensitivity argument, but I don’t think it applies here. The use of violent imagery is so over-the-top and cartoony that I don’t think anyone – peacenik or otherwise – would give a shit. It’s not like the beer is called “Go Shoot a Frenchman’s Baby” IPA or something. The art is straight out of a comic book and the term “smashbomb” is pretty juvenile. It’s silly, but it’s not insensitive.

        I think the difference between this and the Lost Abbey label you and I butted heads over a while back is the reality aspect. LA’s label depicted a rather heinous practice in western history (and still practiced today). The label almost celebrated the persecution of “uppity” women.

        The only way Flying Monkey’s label could have been offensive in my mind is if they renamed it “Hiroshima IPA” or “Holocaust Ale.” Those fictional beer names recall and celebrate terrible tragedies in the name of selling beer. This label appeals to ridiculousness and hyperbole, not actual violence.

        • Don
          April 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

          Thanks for your explanation and clarity….putting my 50 lb sac of spuds away…for now.

      • April 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

        Obviously you guys haven’t heard of Irreverent Brewing.

        • Don
          April 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

          Apparently the internet hasn’t heard of them either…Enlighten me. 🙂

      • April 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

        Do tell. (I’m too lazy to Google it.)

      • April 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

        “They” make beers such as Amber Alert and Yeast Infection. I think there was a Whipcracker Harvest Ale tossing around. A F–kmonster Smoked Habanero Imperial Stout. Hindenburg Hefe should be coming out soon.

      • April 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

        With beers like that, they should invest in a website.

      • April 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

        They might be working on another website about beards right now…

        • Don
          April 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

          Or bears.

      • April 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

        No, beards. Click on my name. You’re featured.

        • Don
          April 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

          What happened to the site Daniel? Its gone!

      • April 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

        I am so glad that as a whisky geek I am not expected to grow facial hair.

      • Don
        April 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

        We really haven’t explored the depths of whisky geekery and an expected level of facial hair. Could be another poll.

  5. scott
    April 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Canada is a great place for sure. But this just stems from their overall culture. I mean their nation anthem is all about love of their country and the land. Our anthem is about war, courage, and freedom. The point is they like to portray peace and respect for the land in all aspects. I respect this, and hope this never happens here! USA!

    • Don
      April 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      So, you respect their love and peace message for the land, but hope we don’t achieve that here in the US? Not really sure you were intending that message. But I get your meaning about the culture. Perhaps they are starting to change a bit. The US has changed a great deal, why not them as well? This could be a cathartic step towards a more raucous point of view.

      • scott
        April 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

        Lol, no that’s not what I meant. I just meant that their overall perception is preserving peace and loving mother earth, at least in the realm of canada. And that anything that gives off the perception of destruction sends the wrong message. Our overall perception is maintaining peace, loving land, (while using the hell out of it) and believing in the sense that war creates peace. Which we all know is an oxymoron, but that is the American way. I hope that world peace does occur, but that’s like wanting to rule the world: it will never happen, but nice to dream about.

      • Don
        April 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

        That clarifies things. I remember in College back when Reagan bombed Libya the first time seeing a protest sign that said “fighting for peace is like fuc*@!g for Virginity”. It is an Oxymoron, but it is our Oxymoron damn it!

    • April 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      Better be careful with comments like that, Scott. Many US liquor laws are far from propagating the spirit of the “Land of the Free”

      • scott
        April 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

        Why can athletes brawl on the field and not go to jail?

        • Don
          April 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

          I assume this is a rhetorical question.

      • April 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

        Even if it’s just rhethorical: Because all who join the agame agree that it’s ok to brawl. If I don’t mind you hitting me, then I can’t demand that you are punished. But if you are REALLY nasty, you will go to to jail anyway.

        I frankly don’t see what this has to do with liquor laws. Do all agree that is’ ok when it’s illegal to have a beer in public in XYZ County or you can’t send a bottle of booze from X to Y`?

      • scott
        April 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

        The point, however vague, was why are some things that are illegal, allowed in certain settings? Because our culture celebrates regulated violence in a controlled setting. Sure there is fighting in hockey, and every canadien enjoys that as much as the next guy, but its the fact our culture celebrates it. A real picture of a bomb on a label would probly pass here, but canada won’t allow a cartoon one? Some things laws can’t touch, others like liquor, alcohol, laws are all over it. Its the only comparison I could come up with, and I wasn’t disagreeing with you. Just saying that we live in a great society with a culture that I can mostly be proud of, even if others are not.

        • Don
          April 8, 2011 at 10:41 am #

          Well said.

  6. corbomite
    April 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    If canada thinks its insensitive to mention a bomb in a juvenile cartoony way on a beer bottle maybe they shouldn’t be involved in all of the wars listed above.
    A George Carlin quote comes to mind: “now they’re thinking about banning toy guns, and they’re going to keep the f***ing real ones!”

    • Don
      April 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      Good point!

  7. Bob T
    April 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Hey Don,

    Your original post includes this: “…lets just say that I’m really glad I live in America where our rights to free speech are protected by the Constitution.”

    I’d guess one brewer in Salt Lake City would argue with you. A decade ago he couldn’t “buy” billboard space in that town to advertise his Polygamy Porter. The proposed ad included the text: “Take a few six-packs home to the wives.”

    • Don
      April 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      Bob, I said in America, not Zion. 😉

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