After butting heads with federal regulators, a California beer brewer has been given permission to continue with current advertising on beer caps that says "Try Legal Weed". The brewery is located in Weed, California.
Founded in 1897 by Abner Weed, the city of Weed, California has been the topic of recent controversy associated with local brewer, Vaune Dillmann. The Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. Microbrewery has been pouring quality brews since 2004 and not without their share of legal troubles.
However, one of the trademarks stamped on the top of the bottles is the statement "Try Legal Weed" and in smaller letters, "Its a friend indeed".
When Dillman submitted the label on his new lager called Lemurian Lager to The Alcohol and Tobacco and Trade Bureau, it was rejected by the US Treasury Branch due to specific laws that prohibit "drug references on alcoholic beverages." The same bottle cap that Dillman had used on all of the other approved brews was also submitted on the Lemurian Lager with the same quote of "Try Legal Weed". Dillmann suspended using the caps, substituting blank caps in their place.
The first official beer produced by the brewery was named after the town's founder, Abner Weed and called "Weed Golden Ale."
According a CBS News report:
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau had ordered Vaune Dillmann to stop using the caps.
Dillmann appealed and was preparing for a legal fight when he received a registered letter this week saying he can continue using the bottle caps
The AP released a portion of the letter:
"Based on the context of the entire label, we agree that the phrase in question refers to the brand name of the product and does not mislead consumers," said the letter, dated July 31.
Sales following the attention have increased, but so have the stress levels according to Dillman. However, reports also indicate that he will soon be returning to the legalized weed advertisements and will be writing a letter of thanks to those who supported him through another temporary roadblock. Just prior to the release of their first beer, another brewery called Butte Creek Brewery out of Chico, California tried to sue Mt Shasta Brewery for rights to their name. They lost and Mt. Shasta Brewing Company is still named what it is today.
In May of 2007, the energy drink called Cocaine was pulled from shelves nationwide due to concerns regarding its name. The FDA did not issue an order that the product be pulled, but it did issue a warning that Redux was illegally marketing the drink as a street drug alternative based upon the name.
Dillmann's final message to all of those who supported him as explained in the CBS article:
"Weed fought the law and Weed won!"