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Beer Labels Featuring Santa Claus Have Valid Reason

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Beer Labels Featuring Santa Claus Have Valid Reason

Every holiday season, micro-brewers release beers featuring Santa Claus on the label. In retaliation, state and local officials ban the beer, but beer enthusiasts insist there is a valid reason for the beer labels.

Saint Nicholas was a third-century Bishop of Myra and among a variety of other things, the patron saint of beer, according to Jay R. Brook's article in Mercury News.

"Most American brewers don't use Santa Claus on their labels for fear of offending people or attracting the ire of anti-alcohol groups, whereas many European brewers understand that they're simply honoring the patron saint of their profession," Brooks reported.

The Main Bureau of Liquor Enforcement in 2006 banned the "Santa's Butt" beer. The label featured Santa, backside displayed, sitting on a barrel of hops, known to the industry as a "butt."

Other beers find a way around the anti-Santa label enforcement by incorporating items like Santa's red hat onto their labels. For example, a Portland, Oregon, brewery's Doggie Claws holiday beer features a dog wearing the iconic red hat.