We read in the Toronto Sun this morning that:
"Majit and Ravinder Minhas, the sister and brother who own the Minas Creek Brewing Company, received a letter from the AGCO in December about the name of their Boxer Lager. The complaint seems to centre on the beer’s name, which could be construed as using sports to advertise, a no-no under Ontario’s liquor regulations. Its unknown to the public who filed the complaint."
Now, I have not had a Boxer Lager or any beer by Minhas Creek Brewing of the western Canadian province of Alberta. Regardless, it strikes me that these sort of questions are important in that they tell us all what we all think of ourselves, how we as a community believe we are susceptible to advertising as well as which issues are the ones which convey special risk. And if not "us" and "we," well, then it tells us what the bureaucrats think of us. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has published a "Guidelines for Liquor sales Licensees and Manufacturers" [warning .pdf!!!] which may well be the rules that the brewers of Boxer brand macro lager is running into - especially section 1(3) which states:
1(3). Except for public service advertising, the holder of a license to sell liquor or a manufacturer of liquor may advertise or promote liquor or the availability of liquor only if the advertising...does not imply that consumption of liquor is required in obtaining or enhancing:
(a) social, professional or personal success,
(b) athletic prowess,
(c) sexual prowess, opportunity or appeal,
(d) enjoyment of any activity,
(e) fulfillment of any goal, or
(f) resolution of social, physical or personal problems.
The idea of advertising goes to the very heart of identity under this guideline. "Liquor" is defined to include beer and "advertising" means "the act of making the brand generally or publicly known" as well as "brand advertising" as well as any representation intended to attract attention to the brand name. So the act of advertising is in a way the brand itself. And we need to be protected against the force of promoting the brand. And look at that word "required" - does Boxer Lager suggest that you are required to drink the beer to be a boxer?
And, if Boxer Lager can be understood to be required in obtaining or enhancing athletic prowess, how about other professions? How about Abbot Ale from Greene King sold at the LCBO these days in a humble can? Isn't that promoting professional success as much as Boxer Lager promotes athletic success? Isn't being Bohemian, the name of a brand sold by Molson Coors, also the filfillment of a life's goal for some? There must be other beers that trip up this rule. Surely Konig Pilsener from Germany or King Pilsner from Ontario offer the highest level of assurance.
Why pick on just the Boxers?