Meet the Ultimate Beer Bureaucrat

Who knew? If you want to sell beer in the US you have to get the label approved by one guy:

Any brewery that wants to market its wares in this country needs to get it through Kent “Battle” Martin, giving the federal official extraordinary power. With only vague regulations outlining what is and isn’t permissible, he approves beer bottles and labels for the Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, a section of the Treasury Department…

This year, Battle has singlehandedly approved over 29,500 beer labels, the only fact his press handler would provide…

Most government departments are nebulous and anonymous. But because of the sheer volume of his interactions with brewers, Battle has become a symbol for the TTB’s nonsensical rules…

Battle has rejected a beer label for the King of Hearts, which had a playing card image on it, because the heart implied that the beer would have a health benefit.

He rejected a beer label featuring a painting called The Conversion of Paula By Saint Jerome because its name, St. Paula’s Liquid Wisdom, contained a medical claim—that the beer would grant wisdom.

He rejected a beer called Pickled Santa because Santa’s eyes were too “googly” on the label, and labels cannot advertise the physical effects of alcohol. (A less googly-eyed Santa was later approved.)

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