Flying Dog Brewery’s Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale is continuing to be distributed despite an alcohol marketing watchdog deeming the artwork on the bottles encourages illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumptions. The beer company decided to ignore the ruling, stating its design stands up for free speech and creative freedom. Welsh artist Ralph Steadman created the art featured on the bottles.

Portman Group have said the packaging “directly or indirectly encourages illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as binge drinking, drunkenness or drunk-driving.”

“While it was not immediately apparent what the character was, the Panel noted that the figure appeared to be balancing on one leg whilst walking a line which, when considered in the context of an alcoholic product, looked akin to someone balancing along a line to demonstrate sobriety,” said Portman Group’s panel.

In response to the criticism, Flying Dog agreed that over-consumption, drunk-driving, binge drinking and the like are serious health and safety issues but claims the company has always been an advocate for responsible and moderate social drinking.

“At the same time, there is no evidence to suggest that the whimsical Ralph Steadman art on the Easy IPA label causes any of those problems. We believe that British adults can think for themselves and Flying Dog, an independent US craft brewer, will not honour the Portman Group’s request to discontinue shipping Easy IPA to the UK,” said Jim Caruso, Fly Dog CEO.

“This is about good beer, and a relatively small, artisanal US craft brewery standing up against a consortium of some of the largest drinks producers in the UK.”