Ashley Brandt

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Hi there! I’m happy you’re here. My name is Ashley Brandt and I’m an attorney in Chicago representing clients in the Food and Beverage, Advertising, Media, and Real Estate industries.

Latest Articles

Want to have a fun time in a great place surrounded by beverage lawyers? Then head on out to the Wine, Beer & Spirits Law conference in Charlotte, NC September 16 and 17. The conference brings together a unique mix of private attorneys, in-house counsel, government regulators, and industry professionals. You can see the full agenda with presenters here. The event promises to be extremely beneficial whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or just curious about beverage law. The post Don’t miss the Wine, Beer & Spirits Law Conference in Charlotte, NC appeared first on Libation Law Blog.…
Justice Gorsuch’s much vaunted “Amazon of liquor” comment from the oral argument on the Tennessee Retailers case is a step closer to potentially coming before the Supreme Court as briefing is now finished in the Mississippi wine shippers case. We first covered the case here and you can bone up on the issues with that coverage. At that time, only the Mississippi Attorney General and the National Beer Wholesalers had filed briefs. Now, the shippers have responded, a reply has been filed, and the Wine Freedom group run by Tom Wark has posted an amicus brief supporting the shippers. Here
To take Stone on face value, their claim is in earnest that: “If MillerCoors succeeds in supplanting Stone’s craft beers with Keystone as “STONE” in the minds of consumers, Stone’s brand and trademark will be destroyed.” But for MillerCoors part, the pragmatic narrative they’re attempting to lodged against Stone doesn’t pull any punches: “Stone Brewing is failing keep pace [sic] in an ever more crowded craft beer segment and needed to revitalize its now-outdated image as an iconoclast. Stone Brewing’s market is increasingly populated by beers that are rated in official beer tastings as simply better than Stone Brewings’ “strong…
The recent reports that Ohio’s Platform Beer Co. has sold/partnererd with AB InBev aren’t the only reason the beer company has been in the news. They’ve got an ongoing trademark dispute with Bottle Logic. Bottle Logic is opposing Platforms attempt to register these two lightbulb marks: Based on Bottle Logic’s prior registration of these two lightbulb marks: Recently the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board told the craft brewers that they’re going to need to get ready for a trial by denying their motions for summary judgment. (link to opinion) Bottle Logic opposes Platform Beer’s attempt to register…
Bellion Spirits petitioned the TTB to make health statements about the positive effects of a compound called NTX in their Bellion Vodka. But the TTB found that “the proposed claims about alcohol beverages infused with NTX are explicit and implicit specific health claims that are not supported by credible evidence” which “create a misleading impression that consumption of alcohol beverages infused with NTX will protect consumers from certain serious health risks associated with both moderate and heavy levels of alcohol consumption.” The TTB reached the determination in conjunction with the FDA examining Bellion’s evidence (See the full appendix linked…
The distillery wanted to register Liquor Slinger Distilling for liquor with Liquor and Distilling disclaimed and the examining attorney refused based on potential likelihood of confusion with the mark “Slinger” which is already registered for “drinking glasses; shot glasses.” The trademark trial and appeal board sided with the examining attorney and affirmed the refusal based on the similarities between the marks and the goods. The board found an “inherent, complementary relationship between the parties’ goods” finding that “liquor is served in and drunk from drinking glasses and shot glasses.” Citing the definition of “shot glass” from the Oxford…
Scotch, Champagne, Tequila, Cognac don’t just enjoy certification mark status, they’re also tied to specific federal regulations for standards of identity. For instance, under the standards of identity for distilled spirits found at 27 C.F.R. 5.22: “Cognac”, or “Cognac (grape) brandy”, is grape brandy distilled in the Cognac region of France, which is entitled to be so designated by the laws and regulations of the French Government.  “Tequila” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash derived principally from the Agave Tequilana Weber (“blue” variety), with or without additional fermentable substances, distilled in such a manner that the…
Let’s start with a matter of science and not the thoroughly drafted opinion denying the Atlas Brew Works challenge to the TTB’s refusal to approve COLAs during the government shutdown (link to our piece on why the case was important and why you should thank Atlas for bringing it). The opinion opens its ending paragraph with “[a]s the passage of time can skunk a beer, so too can it spoil a lawsuit.” Just to be clear – it is ultraviolet light that skunks a beer, not the passage of time. (Here’s a link to a Vinepair article for the
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act is about to become the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act in Illinois as Senate Bill 2023 – passed by both the Illinois House and the Senate – heads to the Governor for signature. The changes to the medical cannabis act involve removing the sunset provision to make the act a permanent program and expanding the definition of “debilitating medical condition” to add: ulcerative colitis, autism, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Neuro-Behcet’s Autoimmune Disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease, and superior canal dehiscence syndrome. The…
Illinois’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act creates a special license for businesses and organizations looking to transport cannabis on behalf of a cannabis business establishment. Under Section 40-5 of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, transporting organizations are licensed by the Department of Agriculture.. Important dates for transporting organizations under the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act: Licenses will issue no later than July 1, 2020 and the application for transporting organizations is to be made available January 7, 2020 with applications due March 15, 2020. The Application requires: A non-refundable fee of $5,000 (then another $10,000 if an…
Mark Sorini over at the excellent alcohol policy and legal blog Alcohol Law Advisor (if you’re not following it, you should) has great coverage and prescient insight regarding how the Tennessee Retailers case has provided a roadmap for challenges to state alcohol statutes and regulations.  The 8th Circuit’s recent decision in Alexis Bailly Vineyard v. Harrington aptly bolsters this prediction by summarizing the Tennessee Retailers as it applies the farm wineries’ challenge to a statutory requirement that farm winery licensees produce wine with a majority of ingredients grown or produced in Minnesota – arguing that the requirement for in-state ingredients…
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court just upheld the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission’s fine and suspension of two Total Wine stores after a trial court found against those fines and ruled in favor of Total Wine. The facts from the opinion (linked below) state that the MA ABCC fined two Total Wine stores finding they were selling alcoholic beverages in violation of an MA ABCC regulation that prohibits retailers from selling below the cost listed on the invoices for the purchase of the discounted bottles. Multiple cumulative quantity discounts offered to Total Wine over several purchases and invoices reduced the…
A current medical dispensary licensee has brought suit against a national cannabis company to terminate what their agreement purports is a $14,000,000.00 deal (ostensibly taken as a mix of cash ($3.5MM), stock ($1.5MM) and debt ($9MM)) the parties inked in March of 2019 because Illinois’s restrictions on the number of licenses a party can hold are presently keeping the deal from closing in the timeframe the seller asserts was the agreed window under the agreement for the sale of the equity interests of the medical dispensary licensee. You can read the complaint with its exhibits here.  The lawsuit seeks…
If you’re not following the excellent coverage of alcohol related issues over at Alcohol Law Review, you’re missing out. That wonderful blog recently brought attention to this state preemption case from Michigan where a group comprised of winery and cider makers are challenging a restriction on their in bond transfer of alcohol – authorized by federal law but arguably prohibited by Michigan law – as well as actions taken by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in apparently prohibiting transfers or seizing product. You can read the full complaint with exhibits here. The important count – count I –…
MillerCoors has appealed the trial court’s May 24, injunction granting it partial relief on the beer advertising suit surrounding the Super Bowl and related advertising Anheuser-Busch has pursued in the game’s wake. You can read that trial court opinion here. In short, the injunction granted partial relief to MillerCoors and instructed Anheuser to top using the following statements in advertising, including social media: Bud Light contains “100% less corn syrup”; Bud Light in direct reference to “no corn syrup” without any reference to “brewed with,” “made with” or “uses”; Miller Lite and/or Coors Light and “corn syrup” without including…
Pursuant to Section 5-10 of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is the licensing authority for cultivation centers, craft growers, infuser organizations and transporting organizations and agents. The addition of a category of licensees known as infuser organizations is a welcome boon to innovation and access allowing entities to manufacture and produce cannabis-infused products without the burden of growing cannabis. We wanted to take the time to highlight some requirements and interesting points related to the infuser license. Under the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, the simple definition of an infuser organization…