The great state of Maine has just denied an application for a beer label based on the grounds that it “appeals to children.” The label: A drawing of Santa Claus, sitting on a stool, checking his list twice, and drinking a cold one. A few things immediately come to mind. The first is that I want to have one of those beers. The second is what a ridiculous standard “appeals to children” is for beer-label-denial.

For starters, kids can’t buy beer…especially the ones who believe in Santa Claus. Not to mention, all beer “appeals to children.” And honestly, if you really don’t want your kid drinking a porter, just let them try it. That should deter them until they break into your liquor cabinet at the age of 15 and get wasted on the beach with all of their friends.

Secondly, this is unfortunately similar to a parent’s “the school district isn’t raising my children properly” complaint. Every year, dozens of school districts or children’s clubs are sued by parents who can’t take the time out of their day to teach their kid left from right or right from wrong. The argument is absurd because any third party can look and see that all of these problems stem from the complete incompetence of the parents. While this is a rant for another day, the angle bears a remarkable likeness to the idea that we can’t put Santa on a beer bottle because kids will want it.

It’s the state’s job to make sure that kids don’t get beer from stores, and it’s the parents’ job to make sure they don’t get it from the fridge. If the mini-mart in Maine isn’t going to ID the eight-year-old leaving the convenient store with a six-pack and a carton of cigarettes, then I hardly think that’s a job for the beer brewer to be fixing.

Aside from the absurdity argument that I’m always so willing to make, Shelton Brothers, the makers of the label are pushing the first amendment bit. It’s a good argument, really – but I don’t think it’ll fly. Beer is too regulated and I’m sure courts will grant deference to the states in determining what bottles are allowed to look like. Here’s what I think the strategy should be in court: shoot for the moon. Every chocolate bar, cereal box, video game, clothing sign, billboard, sex tape, calendar and toy with small parts that Santa is depicted on should go. Everyone one of them. We certainly can’t have Santa advocating candy with all of the little fatties running around these days. How dare the chocolate industry try to lure children by ho-ho-ing it up. And what about that “Santa’s Helpers” DVD in the adult video store where that secretary dresses up as an elf to help “pack up Santa’s sleigh?” That’ll have to go too…just in case any six-year-old wanders into the porn store for some late night dancing-booth-action.

If a picture of Santa’s fat butt can’t be used to sell beer, it shouldn’t be used to sell anything. Hell, I don’t even think he should be used to sell Christmas. Let’s go back to our roots. We can’t have kids wanting capitalism, now can we? Christmas is all about the big JC, and that’s the end of that.

Seriously? This is your argument? Kids will want it? For Pete’s sake, give me a break. Next thing they’ll be doing is taking blinkers out of cars because it attracts toddlers.

So here’s my advice. If your kid asks for the Santa-beer, instead of picking up the phone and calling your congressman, sit him down and tell them that after a long day of making toys and managing the work-force, Santa Claus likes to calm his nerves with a frosty beverage reserved for only adults. He only has two and never drinks and flies. Sometimes Mrs. Claus has some too, and then they get a little frisky afterwards. It’s all very complex…he’ll understand when he’s older.

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