Bill of Rights Day: Craft Brewer’s Suit in Texas Exemplifies Business Civil Liberty of Free Speech

Cross-posted by Forbes.com on WLF’s Contributor Site

Today is the 220th birthday of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. As an organization that focuses on free enterprise, Washington Legal Foundation consistently advances the idea of business civil liberties. That is, despite what those whose camps occupy public parks think, the Bill of Rights protects businesses and the people who create, run, and work in them. For 34 years, WLF has advocated for First Amendment protection of commercial speech – information about products and services.

 A simmering legal dispute in Texas regarding a business’s right to tell consumers where to find its product, advertise a key attribute of that product, and accurately label its product – Authentic Beverages Company v. Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) – provides a perfect platform to explain the value of commercial speech.

In Texas, alcohol laws and regulations: 1) prohibit brewers and distributors from telling customers where their products can be purchased (but allows wineries, and of course retailers, to do so); 2) mandates that beer products of 4% alcohol content or less be called “beer,” and those above 4% be called “ale” or “malt liquor;”; and 3) prohibit advertising of beers’ alcohol content (something wine and distilled spirits can do). Continue reading “Bill of Rights Day: Craft Brewer’s Suit in Texas Exemplifies Business Civil Liberty of Free Speech”