The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is basically the FCC of the beer world, and as their name would imply, they're a bunch of unchill tightwads.
Last week, Nordeast brewer Indeed tried to push its version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" past the notoriously persnickety government agency, only to be rebuffed for the lamest of reasons.
As the Washington Times reports, Indeed was seeking approval to market its spring seasonal under the name Lavender Sunflower Date, or LSD, Honey Ale. Fearing that the name would give the impression that drugs were in the beer, the TTB gave a stern no.
"We tried to find a way we could keep it on the label, like could we spell out the words and just bold the first letters," co-founder and co-owner Thomas Whisenand told the Pioneer Press. "But unfortunately we sell a regulated product, and there’s not much you can do when the feds say no."
Local drinkers will recognize that the psychedelic beer has been sold under the taboo name in Minnesota for some time, but a change in the packaging called for an audit. Now that Indeed services North Dakota and Wisconsin, that means the company falls under federal oversight — particularly the oversight of the TTB and their label czar Kent "Battle" Martin.
Martin, who was profiled in the Daily Beast, and the TTB have censored plenty of beers for opaque drug references, the most famous being Lagunitas' Censored Copper Ale, which was famously denied the moniker of "The Kronik" for interstate distribution. But slighter, more puzzling offenses have also been flagged, such as this Danish beer, whose hamburger label apparently implied that meat flavoring had been added. Another beer marketed as a "heart-warming ale" was nixed for carrying a perceived health claim.
The moderately renamed Lavender, Sunflower Honey, and Dates Honey Ale — which, to clarify, does NOT contain acid — is now available in Indeed's taproom, and 16-ounce tallboys of the stuff will be hitting shelves on April 18.