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Tapped out! Hook brewery is ordered to stop making ‘Obama’ ale

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Federal agents have ordered a Red Hook brewery to stop making its popular “Hop Obama” ale — a beer that was first brewed during the presidential campaign as a way of supporting the then-underdog candidate.

The cease-and-desist order was issued by the Tax and Trade Bureau of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on the grounds that Sixpoint Craft Ales did not have permission from to use the president’s likeness on the tasty, hop-heavy brew.

“Sixpoint did have a label approval us for the product — but we realized that it was approved in error,” said TTB spokesman Art Resnick. “When we realized it [in December], we contacted them and they agreed to surrender the license. End of story.”

Actually, just the beginning.

On Thursday, the story bubbled to the surface after the Brownstoner Web site reported on the federal “raid” at Sixpoint’s Van Dyke Street plant. Alas, there were no agents storming the brewery.

“They sent a TTB rep down to the facility … to make sure we weren’t doing anything funny,” “Sixpoint” posted on Brownstoner.

“We were required to surrender our labeling license and destroy all product that may have been in inventory,” he continued, adding that there was no “raid.”

But the bottom line will have Brooklyn boozers needing a stimulus package of their own: “The point is there will be no more ‘Hop Obama,’ ” the Sixpoint post concluded.

The demise of the “presidential” beer left drinkers crying in their less-suds.

“I’m upset,” said Jonathan Stan, an owner of Pacific Standard, a Fourth Avenue bar that donated $1 from every pint of Hop Obama to the Obama campaign. “[Sixpoint] wasn’t trying to use his name to make money, they were actually trying to support him — while making a good beer.”

Resnick said that some liknesses of the president — such as the Brooklyn Cyclones’ forthcoming “Obama Bobblehead Doll” night — may be legal, but when alcohol is concerned, the feds step in “if it is likely to mislead the consumer that the product has been endorsed, made or used by … the individual.”

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Reader Feedback

sid from Boerum Hill says:
NY State prohibits the use of anyone likeness for commercial purposes(this is different from the use as news) You can ridicule someone but I would watch out with those bobble head dolls unless they get permission(and commercial purposes doesn't matter if they are given out for free)...
Feb. 12, 2009, 8:53 pm
sid from Boerum Hill says:
NY State prohibits the use of anyone likeness for commercial purposes(this is different from the use as news)(without their permission) You can ridicule someone but I would watch out with those bobble head dolls unless they get permission(and commercial purposes doesn't matter if they are given out for free)...

I corrected this sorry I left that permission part out.
Feb. 12, 2009, 8:54 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
This was OK for the election but people might think that all black presidents are beer drinkers.
Feb. 12, 2009, 10:28 pm
ANGRY from Midwood Park says:
Shall we change the name FBI to KGB?
Feb. 13, 2009, 5:27 pm
Ironhead from Manhattan says:
NY State prohibits the use of anyone anyone likeness for commercial purposes ...

Yeah, except Crazy Horse's.
Feb. 18, 2009, 1:28 pm

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