Libation Law Blog

Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Regulatory and Legal Updates

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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…
That’s right, the oral arguments in this historic wine shipping case involving the rights of in-state citizens and out-of-state retailers to set their contractual terms and receive alcohol through third-party shippers like FedEx will be broadcast live today.  Here’s why this case about retailers shipping alcohol to residents of other states is important.   So take a break and have lunch today watching this first of its kind liquor shipping dispute. Beer, wine, and spirits retailers, especially those thinking about setting up programs to sell online shouldn’t take their eyes off this matter as it provides review of an as-of-yet…
The Ninth Circuit heard argument on the trademark dispute that Jim Beam, the maker of “Pucker” flavored vodkas, won against a rival spirits brand that makes Johnny Love Vodka, JL Beverage Co. The vodka maker, through its liquor attorneys, wanted to overturn the District Court decision in an attempt to breath life back into its lawsuit. The District Court had handed both parties something of a draw in determining that the Pucker lipstick mark did not infringe on the more realistic Johnny Love lipstick mark and that the Johnny Love mark shouldn’t be invalidated. In discussing the decision after a…
In the Friday January 10, 2020 edition of the Illinois Register, the Illinois Department of Revenue proposed two new pieces of emergency rulemaking to implement taxation portions of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. The first emergency rule implements the 7% tax on cannabis cultivators in Illinois for the privilege of cultivation. The tax is imposed on gross receipts from the initial sale of the product to another cultivator or to a craft grower, infuser or dispensing organization. The second emergency rule implements the sales tax that adult users see on their receipts for the purchase of cannabis…
Several months ago, medical marijuana dispensary operator, Ultra Health, won its case against the State of New Mexico for New Mexico’s odd actions in attempting to restrict how and what Ultra Health could display regarding its processes and cannabis plants at the New Mexico State Fair and for New Mexico’s improper actions for suspending Ultra Health’s licenses (22 dispensaries in New Mexico) following the incident. The State continued to restrict the free speech rights of the medical marijuana dispensary at the following year’s state fair  You can read the full opinion from the Federal District Court for the District…
We called this a while back for the broadcasters, producers, and distributors challenging Missouri’s restrictions on alcohol advertising contained in the state’s three-tier “of value” and tied-house laws and regulations.  You can read our analysis and a description of the issues in our prior posts on the case, here, here, here, and here. You’ll note this has been bouncing around for a while now as the state originally won a motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging certain Missouri liquor advertising restrictions as violative of the First Amendment. The 8th Circuit reversed that decision finding that the broadcasters, alcohol distributors and…
We called this a while back for the broadcasters, producers, and distributors challenging Missouri’s restrictions on alcohol advertising contained in the state’s three-tier “of value” and tied-house laws and regulations.  You can read our analysis and a description of the issues in our prior posts on the case, here, here, here, and here. You’ll note this has been bouncing around for a while now as the state originally won a motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging certain Missouri liquor advertising restrictions as violative of the First Amendment. The 8th Circuit reversed that decision finding that the…
Vintage Wine Estates filed a lawsuit against Lloyd’s London and other insurers after the insurance companies failed to reimburse Vintage under an “all risk” insurance policy – denying claims that the policy covered losses Vintage suffered damage to its wines caused by the October 2017 wildfires in Sonoma County, Napa County and surrounding areas. The complaint alleges that smoke from the wildfires infiltrated the winemaking process resulting in substantial damage commonly referred to as “smoke taint” to Vintage’s wines.  Of particular interest to wineries, breweries and distilleries looking to hold insurers accountable under policies they’ve paid for over damaged products,…
More to follow on this in the upcoming days as we detail the issues debriefed and handled by the Illinois Department of Agriculture in the FAQs on their newly published Cannabis Craft Grower, Cannabis Infuser, and Cannabis Transporter applications. You can find the applications for the licenses created under Illinois’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705) as well as links to the Department of Agriculture’s emergency administrative rules on the Cannabis license applications and process here. The post Illinois Department of Agriculture posts cannabis craft grower, infuser, and transporter applications. (We’ve got the link for
The 6th Circuit’s “Amazon of liquor” case is about in-state liquor retailers having the privilege to ship liquor directly to residents, but denying that right to out-of-state alcohol retailers. One of the many foreseeable and inevitable Commerce Clause challenges to idiotic three-tier state-restricted liquor laws that are based on bad science and antequated reasoning from the 1930s.  Liquor lawyers and others looking for more information can read our coverage of this case at both the District Court level challenge to the out-of-state retailers’ rights for direct-wine shipping as well as find the prior briefs filed in the 6th Circuit…
Craft and nascent industry producers and manufacturers rarely face the realities of consumer fraud litigation that runs rampant for larger industry players. The reason is simple – deep pockets. The type of plaintiffs’ class action firms that go after these cases would rather chase the likes of MedMen and MillerCoors who can afford to pay out, and whose products sell at such large quantities that class sizes even over trivial class injuries, can amount to big awards. Recently, however, small producers in craft beer and those in the fledgling cannabis industry have made news over mistakes or suits that are…
In a profound lesson to include choice of counsel and defense obligations in your sponsorship contracts, Jason Mraz has filed this complaint against MillerCoors over MillerCoors’ use of Jason Mraz’s May 2019 performance at the Beach Life Festival in an Instagram ad promoting MillerCoors.  The complaint alleges that MillerCoors used Mraz’s image and copyrighted material in the advertisement without his permission superimposing the Coors Light Logo over the ad. The complaint alleges copyright violation, Lanham Act violation, violation of Mraz’s right of publicity and California statutory claims.  The complaint notes that the video was 13 seconds and does not…
The December 20, 2019, copy of the Illinois Register contains an end-of-year present for some Illinois beer, wine and liquor retailers in the form of a proposed rule from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission addressing the circumstances and manner in which Illinois’s alcoholic liquor (beer, wine, and spirits) retailers can accomplish certain forms of quantity discounting (cooperative purchasing, coupons, rebates) in their purchasing from wholesalers and manufacturers.  The proposed rulemaking will amend Illinois’s new-ish “of value” rules for interactions between retailers, distributors, and manufacturers which can be found at Title 11, Section 100.500 of the Illinois Administrative Code. With…
Kudos to the Miami Herald for the deep dive on the history of the Florida law banning adulteration of alcoholic beverages with grains of paradise. Their article, by David Ovalle gives you the background and history on the use of grains of paradise in drinks, and the movement to bar/ban/prohibit it as well as the historical context for Florida’s oddly specific anti-alcohol adulteration statute: 562.455 Adulterating liquor; penalty.—Whoever adulterates, for the purpose of sale, any liquor, used or intended for drink, with cocculus indicus, vitriol, grains of paradise, opium, alum, capsicum, copperas, laurel water, logwood, brazil wood, cochineal,…