One Guy Approves All Beer Labels In America

The headline kind of says it all, but seriously? The Daily Beast gives us a short and somewhat oblique profile on Kent “Battle” Martin – “Battle” to those he works with, apparently – an employee at the Federal Tax and Trade Bureau. Battle’s job? To evaluate and approve (or disapprove) every beer label in use in the United States. Seriously. Every label. Something like 30,000 a year.

The best part? The guy’s apparently a massive workaholic. Though opinions of the man’s work run the gamut in the industry, everybody can agree on one thing: At the end of the day, your brew’s artwork is Battle’s call.

Formerly part of ATF, the government wisely decided that gun traffickers needed a different regulatory regime than craft brewers some time after 9/11. The TTB spun off to focus on collecting excise taxes, and now Kent “Battle” Martin, anonymous bureaucrat, quietly oversees the art direction for the entire brewing industry.

Well, not really. Food labels are a highly regulated thing, even at the state level, and I guess somebody has to ensure that the WARNING: portion is the right font, size, and color. Otherwise, people might forget that alcohol isn’t for everybody, and just booze it on up, all unregulated like.

Perhaps I speak for myself….