Law is fun. Never let anyone tell you differently. In 1979, Labatt went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to defend its right to call a 4% lager a light or rather a "lite" beer. Trouble was a regulation said that meant the beer was under 2.5%. The Court ruled. Hilarity ensured:
"The brewing and labelling of beer and light beer has not been said to have given rise either to a national emergency or a new problem not existing at the time of Confederation, nor to a matter of national concern transcending the local authorities’ power to meet and solve it by legislation."
"Like the learned trial judge, I conclude that the manner in which the appellant seeks to market its “Labatt’s Special Lite” beer is not such as to make it likely that it will be mistaken for a food..."
"I can find no basis, therefore, for this detailed regulation of the brewing industry in the production and sale of its product as a proper exercise of the federal authority in criminal law."
"...the regulations under consideration do not on their face purport to be, nor can they be, connected or related to the protection of health since any such beverage regardless of its name having an alcoholic content by volume of not less than 1.2% and not more than 8.5% and otherwise brewed in accordance with the process common to all “Malt Liquors” is presumptively not a hazard to health."
"Even on the strict view that any use of the word “light”, properly spelled or mis-spelled, is prohibited. I fail to see how this can be said to amount to a prohibition of the sale of this particular product. Could they not label it as “Low-calorie” if they wished? It may be that this would not be commercially desirable but that is a matter of the wisdom of the legislation with which we are not concerned."
See? No, that's what I call a good time. Any lessons to be learned? First, unlike the yuk-fests in most beery court rulings, the serious folk of the upper shelf stay away from the silly that sometimes sneaks into the text. Second, it was a split ruling. Three out of seven judges on the panel wanted to smite down the uppity brewery and keep the under the yoke of federal law so that the fans of 2.5% beer wouldn't be confused by 4% beer. Third, in an interesting observation, the Chief Justice pointed out that as breweries and their beer had become national, Federal control was appropriate.
There. Learned you something on a Monday night.