Flying Dog, the 32nd largest craft brewery in the country, terminated its membership in the Brewer’s Association effective June 1, 2017. Freedom of expression & free enterprise are not only what created our vibrant and robust craft beer industry, they are also core principles for Flying Dog. It seems the BA does not share those values, and wants to eliminate from the market any beer with labels they find disagreeable.
The BA’s new Marketing & Advertising Code is nothing more than a blatant attempt to bully and intimidate craft brewers into self-censorship and to only create labels that are acceptable to the management and directors of the BA. By contrast, Flying Dog believes that consumers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves what choices are right for them: What books to read, movies to watch, music to listen to, or beers to consume (and whether or not they like the labeling).
BA president Bob Pease’s assurance to Flying Dog that the BA has “no issue with any Flying Dog brand” entirely missed the point. In a 6-page letter to Pease, Flying Dog made its position clear: On principle, Flying Dog will never contribute to, support, or in any way sanction any organization that is so averse to freedom of expression that it actively engages in any form of censorship. And with that letter, Flying Dog ended its 26-year relationship with the BA.