By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
October 11, 2019
Within the last three-and-a-half months, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (NCABC) has rejected the selling of two brands of alcoholic beverages in the Tar Heel state. The Commission’s refusal to allow for the sale of these brands, one wine, and the other beer, demonstrates the alcohol industry’s nefarious influences in advertising.
In July, the Commission rejected a filed request to sell a polygamy-themed beer, known as “Polygamy Porter.”
The beer is manufactured by Utah-based Wasatch Brewery, which already sells a variety of beers in North Carolina. Wasatch said the Commission’s ruling caught them by surprise.
In a statement provided to the media, the Commission said:
“The NC ABC always gives thoughtful consideration to each label and uses the criteria outlined in the statutes as the basis for every rejection or approval.”
The reason for the rejection of “Polygamy Porter” was simple, according to state law, the ABC Commission must not approve any product that is either illegal, undignified, or in bad taste. “Polygamy is illegal,” said the Commission.
Wasatch Brewery vowed to appeal and did, but in August, the Commission came down with a repeat rejection of their first decision.
The Commission also rejected an appeal from “Hello Kitty Wines” in September, citing North Carolina law, which reads:
“An advertisement or product label on any alcoholic product sold or distributed in this State shall not contain any statement, design, device, or representation that promotes or encourages the sale to, or use by, persons under 21 years of age of alcoholic beverages, including any representation portraying a person under 21 years of age consuming alcoholic beverages.”
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Hello Kitty is known around the world as “a small, round-faced, cartoon catlike girl with black eyes, a yellow nose, no mouth, and a red bow perched on her left ear. Hello Kitty…adorns hundreds of products for children.”
Hello Kitty is produced and marketed by the Japanese Company, Sanrio.
In July, the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter reported:
“According to state data provided to the Ledger, state alcohol officials rejected 20 alcohol labels in the first four months of 2019.”
Research by the Christian Action League discovered some of the other products rejected by the Commission had names such as “Beergasm” and “Raging Bitch.” Several other products made Cannabis references.
The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter also stated:
“North Carolina isn’t the only place struggling with potentially troublesome alcohol brands. Within the alcohol industry, some breweries walk a fine line. They try to create a name and label that grabs attention, but sometimes their efforts get accused of promoting misogyny and exploitation. Two years ago, a craft-brewery trade association said it would no longer allow award-winning breweries to advertise their awards if a panel deemed one of their beers to have an offensive label:
“A few of the names that have caused a stir include Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp, showing a woman with a lower back tattoo from behind; Route 2 Brews Leg Spreader, featuring a woman with her legs spread; and Pig Minds Brewing’s PD Blueberry Ale, showing a woman with her panties around her ankles.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said that he applauds what our state’s current laws require of the alcohol industry and that the NC ABC does a tremendous job policing the matter.
“But the problem that I hope the public would see here,” said Rev. Creech, “is this nefarious form of advertising by the alcohol industry and its deleterious effect on culture.”
Rev. Creech continued:
“Marketing and advertising play a huge role in shaping our society. Americans are exposed every day to over an hour of television commercials, and approximately 500 advertisements. The American Psychological Association has concluded that these ads can harm our children and that there is a link between increased unhealthy food ads and the current obesity problem. Moreover, there’s definitely a connection between tobacco and alcohol ads and underage smoking and drinking. I believe in free speech, but not the kind that shouts ‘fire!’ in a crowded room and not the kind that names an alcoholic beverage after a beloved children’s cartoon.
“Over the years, we’ve seen the alcohol industry target underage drinkers with products such as alcopops, an alcoholic beverage with a sweet taste – a product that appeals to youth who don’t like the traditional bitter, flat taste of beer or wine. It’s sad, but such advertising works. Young people are 96 more times likely to see an advertisement for an alcoholic beverage than they are to watch one that discourages underage drinking. But these companies don’t care, they know they have to build a market for tomorrow and our children are in their crosshairs.
“Twenty-five years ago, it was unimaginable that we would see ads on television that promote products highlighting LGBTQ, but it’s going on now. I’m sure some folks think it’s a bit over the top to ask this, but what’s next? What can we expect to see and hear in the relatively near future? Promotion of polygamy? It doesn’t matter whether that was the intent of the company that makes “Polygamy Porter” or not. The point is, advertising shapes our society for better or worse, and we need to recognize this. And we especially need to understand that alcohol, seedy behavior, and moral degeneration are the unholy trinity in whose name alcohol advertising baptizes us.”