Ten years ago, the ACLU of Maine told Maine's Liquor Licensing Unit to say "No, No, No!" to censorship. 

In what might have been the most talked about censorship case of 2006, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of Daniel Shelton of Shelton Brothers Brewing, a specialty beer distributor who was refused permission to sell “Santa’s Butt Winter Porter," which features Santa’s fully-clothed derriere perched atop a barrel (or “butt”) of beer, because the label was deemed "undignified or improper."

Maine law requires beer and liquor distributors to obtain a Certificate of Approval and to register the labels with the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement.  The Bureau ensures that labels are factually accurate - displaying the correct ingredients and the proper volume, for example- and polices the illustrations used on the labels.  The strict policing that landed Santa’s Butt on the chopping block raised constitutional concerns and lead to our challenge of the decision.

Thanfully, the state of Maine recognized that the First Amendment protects even Santa's right to be a little naughty sometimes, and reversed its decision before the case went to court. As a result, Super Lawyer Magazine named ACLU of Maine legal director Zachary Heiden a "hero of beer drinkers everywhere." And THAT is something to be merry about.

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