Libation Law Blog

Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Regulatory and Legal Updates

Latest from Libation Law Blog

We wrote about Illinios’s new craft distilling law creating new classes of licenses for craft distillers and creating a new class of licensee called a distilling pub back in August when Governor Pritzker signed the bill.  The new license forms for the Class 1 and Class 2 Craft Distiller licenses and the distilling pub licenses are posted on the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s website. And the Illinois Liquor Control Commission also recently posted an FAQ-style bulletin regarding the new law that answers some questions about retailing and self-distribution under the new law. Here is the full text of the…
Illinois’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act places the labeling and packaging oversight for recreational cannabis products with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. In their recent emergency rules, the Department adopted regulations regarding labeling and packaging of recreational cannabis products in Illinois that mirrored the statutory requirements for packaging and labeling cannabis products and did not expand on those statutory requirements to any great degree. (You can find those requirements below). The statutory requirements under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act as well as the regulatory requirements emplaced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for cannabis businesses specifically mandate that in…
Illinois craft brewers could soon bring us one step closer to Ragnarok if they get their way with Illinois Senate Bill 2551. Under SB 2551, craft brewers (those holding Class 1 brewer and Class 2 brewer licenses but not general brewers) would be granted the right under Illinois law to make mead in addition to beer. The manufacturing would still be subject to federal requirements, so a winery premises is still a federal requirement, which means you’ll be achieving an alternating premises to be able to make both beer and honey wine (mead) as a craft brewer in Illinois…
Citing its 10,000 cases sold since September 2019 and its forecasts for Brizzy revenue to exceed $2,500,000 in 2020 the makers of Brizzy, a beverage company out of Austin called Future Proof brought suit against Molson Coors (also a beverage company) claiming Molson’s Vizzy hard seltzer is “nearly identical .. in sight, sound, and appearance” to Future Brand’s Brizzy.  As is necessary in such a suit, Brizzy claims its hard seltzer distributors are already asked Future Proof when its Vizzy product will launch and asserting – as some form of allegation, although it’s point is lost on us, that MillerCoors…
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has posted the second of two anticipated frequently asked question bulletins regarding the portion of Illinois’s adult use cannabis program that it is administering – the cultivation, creation and transportation of cannabis products. The Illinois Department of Agriculture will soon begin accepting applications for cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses and in advance of the application deadline, it undertook to answer applicant questions regarding the applications in two phases, the second of which can be found here. The second FAQ is worth the read and clears up some important issues about the application…
La Galere Markets operates gourmet mini-markets inside high-rises that use self-checkout systems. Only building residents can enter the stores. Generally, no employee is on-site. LGM wanted to sell beer and wine in its stores to residents in buildings where its stores operated (sounds like a giant communal mini-bar) and it asked the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco for guidance on its plan to allow this kind of automated checkout.  The plan?  1) the stores with the automated dispensing machines would be in residential buildings that could only be accessed by residents; 2)…
Over a year ago, the Idaho state police seized over three tons of industrial hemp valued at roughly $1.3 million on its way from Oregon to Colorado for processing. The company that owned the hemp tried desperately to have the Federal Courts intervene and after a loss at the District Court level, the 9th Circuit also dealt them a blow by refusing to determine the issues based on Younger abstention as the state police had a case filed in state court. Following the 9th Circuit’s ruling the Federal Court stayed the matter pending the state court action.  The Idaho…
It’s that time of year again… time to remind you that Super Bowl and Super Sunday are registered trademarks of the NFL. This is why most brands and businesses use the phrase “the Big Game” in advertising linking promotions or events to Super Bowl Sunday. Promoting your brand with the trademarked phrases almost always infringes on the NFL’s marks, and to the extent the NFL takes notice, may end up costing you. Promoting your brand with allusory names is cool – so is saying “San Francisco” or “Kansas City” in place of “49ers” and “Chiefs” – works, so…
A quick liquor lawyer tip: You’ve lost when an opinion about your silly adulterated alcohol case starts like this: “Numerous class actions have greatly benefited society such as Brown v. Board of Education, In re Exxon Valdez, and In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation. This is not one of those class actions.” That’s how the Court started its opinion dismissing this ridiculous lawsuit. We wrote extensively about this case over an archaic alcohol adulteration law in this Libation Law Blog entry – you can use the link to read about the matter and find a great article from the…
The 6th Circuit has set oral argument in the Michigan liquor retailer shipping case that has companion cases across the country.  Oral argument is set for March 12, at 8:30 a.m. (EST). We’ll post it here once it is available. The post Oral Arguments set in Michigan Lebamoff case about out-of-state retailers shipping liquor to in-state residents where state allows in-state retailers to ship to them. appeared first on Libation Law Blog.…
The 7th Circuit has set oral argument in the beer made with corn syrup case of the century. We’ll post it once it is up. Currently the argument is set for Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.  If you want to view it live, you can visit 219 S. Dearborn in Chicago and it will be in the Main Courtroom, Room 2721.  For those following what was to be the trial of the matter in the ongoing District Court case that was not stayed while the appeal is pending, the District Court has pushed back the trial until sometime…
A little bit of background makes this seem like an easy decision given that constitutions, as a general rule, trump statutes. Oklahoma’s state constitution addresses the alcoholic beverage industry and its operation. Oklahoma used to have a state constitutional clause mandating that alcoholic beverage manufacturers make their products available to all distributors: “any manufacturer … shall be required to sell such brands … to every licensed wholesale distributor who desires to purchase the same, on the same price basis and without discrimination ….” In 2018, the state constitution was amended and that provision about “shall sell” was replaced with a…
Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, one of the nation’s largest alcoholic beverage distributors, has filed an amicus brief in support of Total Wine’s cert petition requesting the United States Supreme Court review the Second Circuit’s denial of Total Wine’s antitrust challenge to Connecticut’s post-and-hold, minimum pricing, and volume discount laws. You can read the brief in support of liquor retailer’s rights to have fluid pricing here. Briefly, Total Wine, a retailer, brought suit and lost its challenge asserting that three of Connecticut’s alcohol regulations violate antitrust principles and stifle competition. If you want the background on these alcohol…
The Illinois Department of Agriculture posted the first of two anticipated frequently asked questions bulletins regarding the current process for the cannabis licensing process it is currently running for the Illinois craft grower, infuser, and transporter licenses available in the current round of cannabis licensing. You can find the full first FAQ on the licensing process for Illinois’s craft growers, infusers, and transporters here. You can find the link to the Department’s adult use cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter applications and other materials hosted by the Illinois Department of Agriculture on their adult use cannabis site here.…
The TTB has posted some informative videos about different issues in its trade practices enforcement efforts and the history of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. The new videos are linked below and can be found on the TTB’s Trade Practices website. Each is a decent introduction to issues raised in the TTB’s enforcement of matters in the alcoholic beverage industry. FAA Act History & Background Tied House Exclusive Outlet Commercial Bribery Consignment Sales The post TTB posts informative trade practices video series about the history of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, tied-houses, exclusive outlets, bribery, and consignment. appeared first…
The plaintiff in this case is a professional photographer whose work is registered with the copyright office. He sued New York Vintners LLC for copyright infringement when they used a picture of his on a third-party website, PULSD.COM promoting their wine education classes. You can see the photograph and read the complaint here. For whatever reason, the wine retailer did not respond to the complaint and default was entered against them. In reviewing the claims and setting the judgment amount, the magistrate’s report and recommendation inquired as to the fair market value of use of the photograph and set…