Libation Law Blog

Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Regulatory and Legal Updates

Latest from Libation Law Blog

This fight has the industry on the edge of its chair. It involves the interplay and nebulous no-man’s-land between state and federal laws regarding cannabis.  The US Attorney’s office in Southern California is representing the DEA in a subpoena enforcement kerfuffle against the State of California and its Bureau of Cannabis Control that arose after the DEA sent a subpoena demanding the production of specific documents (licenses,license applications, and shipping manifests), for six adult-use cannabis licensed or related entities from the state agency responsible for licensing and regulating the medical and adult-use cannabis industry in California. The state marijuana regulator…
This case involves a shipment of spoiled wine – potentially “cooked” wine – the reason that arranging a refrigerated shipping container is an important point for many wine importers. The allegations are that Rang Dong Winery contracted with defendant Hillebrand to ship three containers of wine to Ho Chi Minh City Cat Lai Port, Vietnam. Rang Dong alleges Hillebrand represented that the shipment would be delivered to the Cat Lai Port, consistent with prior shipping arrangements between the two parties. Without notice, Hillebrand allegedly altered the shipment destination and ultimately delivered the cargo to Cai Mep Port, a different terminal…
For a week or two now #beerlaw twitter has been writing about the record breaking offer in compromise between Anheuser-Busch and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. A $5,000,000 payment for the charged violations (the allegations) of violating the trade practice laws set forth in 27 U.S.C. § 205 by:  entering into sponsorship agreements with various entities in the sports and entertainment industries requiring concessionaires and other retailers to purchase A-B’s malt beverages and prohibiting them from purchasing specific competitor brands;  inducing sports industry concessionaires to purchase A-B’s malt beverages by furnishing fixtures, equipment, and services;  reimbursing, through…
An Ohio Federal Court has marked two wine shipping cases as related. One suit has the State of Ohio as the plaintiff suing Wine.com and other online retailers in an attempt to stop the out-of-state liquor retailers from selling and shipping liquor direct to Ohioans and the other case is a wine direct shipping case from the same legal group pressing wine direct shipping cases across the country. In the State of Ohio case, the Attorney General is looking for a preliminary and then permanent injunction to halt alcohol direct to consumer sales by companies advertising “wine delivered right to…
I’m doing my best to draft headlines that tell you all you really need to know. Would that it were possible for this issue regarding the retail of alcohol, the Commerce Clause, and the 21st Amendment. We have discussed the problems with the 6th Circuit’s reversal of a District Court’s decision to allow out-of-state alcohol retailers to ship alcohol to Michigan residents where that right was enjoyed by in-state liquor retailers. There was a petition to rehear the case en banc that got denied and the next logical step (the only real one left) is the petition for certiorari. That…
Chicago liquor licensees without access to outdoor seating are ordered shuttered for indoor service once again beginning Friday, July 24. This comes less than a month after they were allowed to re-open on a limited capacity and took substantial steps and investments in PPE and other measures to meet guidelines for Chicago liquor licensees and Illinois liquor license requirements. The press release detailing the renewed restrictions lists the following restrictions: Bars, taverns, breweries and other establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food license will no longer be able to serve customers indoors. Restaurants that serve…
Yes, expect it. Even with many states passing or considering COVID-19 protections for businesses choosing to open the lawsuits will mount for a time as courts consider how to treat coronavirus lawsuits. Thankfully, precedents grow for the hospitality industry establishing boundaries and criteria for liability. One recent case, stemming from an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the Princess Cruise Line ship, the Grand Princess, involved people that didn’t contract the virus but who were passengers aboard the ship that was set to travel from San Francisco to Hawaii. Two weeks into the cruise, people started testing positive for COVID-19. The plaintiffs…
What should you know about labeling your non-alcoholic beer? Well, the first thing is that depending on the the source of the fermentable sugars that gave you alcohol you’ve either got a non-alcoholic malt beverage governed by the labeling rules of the TTB or you’ve got a non-alcoholic beverage with labeling governed by the FDA (both still have Internal Revenue Code (IRC) requirements).  For example, take the difference between using sugar and barley. If you’ve derived the majority of your alcohol content from brewing a beverage with barley and, for instance, stalled-out brewing to obtain a near beer (something with…
Heaven Hill Distilleries recent win against a typosquatter holding heavenhlll.com provides a textbook example of a typo/cybersquatting claim. Craft distillers, craft brewers, and wineries, and other beverage brands should understand that there are straightforward legal remedies for obtaining or shutting down (or both) these types of offending domain names. A brief background on going after these types of confusing domain name issues – generally they arise in the form of cybersquatting or this form of typosquatting where traffic potentially looking for information or to interact with your beverage brand is redirected for a different purpose. In order to shut down…
In this case, a Florida bar appealed from a decision of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco finding that the license granting it a right to sell alcohol at catered special events, like music and other festivals, did not allow the licensee the right to receive deliveries of alcohol at catered events where they were lawfully allowed to sell alcohol. – That’s right, a state alcohol regulatory equivalent of created sick and commanded to be sound. The bar had initially sought a declaratory statement from the alcohol regulator that they could accept…
Here is the link to the PDF announcement from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The Illinois Department of Agriculture has suspended the deadline for issuing Illinois’s new Adult Use Cannabis Craft Grower, Cannabis Infuser and Cannabis Transporter licenses on account of the COVID-19 epidemic. Here’s the text from the announcement in case you can’t download it: SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced today the July 1st deadline for issuing adult-use cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses has been temporarily suspended. Due to the previous application deadline extension and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker issued…
A dispute over a contracted alcoholic beverage between the parties to this alcoholic beverage manufacturing agreement arose after the purchaser, a company that markets, sells, and distributes alcoholic beverages, raised quality control issues with the manufacturer, a brewery, distillery, and winery producing the purchaser’s “chocolate and cream based wine blends” and a “cream and coffee based alcohol blend.” The complaint alleges that the manufacturer produced 3,126 cases of the purchasers iced coffee and at an August 2018 taste test, the purchaser noted the flavor was wrong. The manufacturer said it could safely adjust the taste by adding an additional ingredient.…
An appeal of a ruling in favor of a distiller against a consumer claiming an antiquated state food purity law trumped the TTB’s acceptance of FDA generally recognized as safe (GRAS) regulations may provide some much needed guidance for brewers, distillers, and vintners worried about state laws and standards regarding the production of beer, spirits and wine that prohibit activities allowed by Federal law or regulation. The appeal involves a recent preemption win that Bacardi had when a consumer brought suit against Bacardi based on a 150-year-old law on Florida’s books regarding some compounds and ingredients that, prior to decent…
We’d previously written about this case when the complaint was filed challenging the failure to award some of Illinois’s still unawarded medical cannabis dispensary licenses and discussed what the implications were given that medical cannabis dispensaries are allowed to sell recreational cannabis from their current dispensaries and granted an additional license to open a second adult use recreational cannabis facility in Illinois under illinois’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. Back when the initial licensing round was occurring, there were up to 60 medical cannabis dispensary licenses available, but the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation only issued 55. Recently,…
Last week we wrote about the updated criteria for forgiveness of the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Act implemented by the update to that program – the PPP Flexibility Act. The SBA has now released the newly updated forms for obtaining forgiveness – the loan forgiveness application and the new Form EZ loan forgiveness application. Each of these forms include the updates incorporated by the PPP Flexibility Act. The new EZ Form applies for borrowers in one or more of these groups: Self-employed or independent contractor/sole proprietorships with no employees when the PPP loan was applied for (you didn’t file…
It was bound to happen. And I’m happy it was in Chicago, Illinois, that a restaurant and bar fought and received an equitable reduction in rent proportionate to the potential loss in revenue (more on this below) suffered by the restaurant under the COVID-19 stay at home and business closure orders issued by the State of Illinois. The restaurant/bar had filed for bankruptcy protection before the COVID-19 crisis, so the order and opinion come from the bankruptcy court in the context of the landlord and management company filing motions to be able to proceed with eviction of the restaurant/bar and…