Libation Law Blog

Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Regulatory and Legal Updates

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The good folks at the ILCC officially (this has been in the works for some time, but the process of getting a regulation approved in Illinois takes a while) adopted an updated regulation on the transfer of alcohol between retailers. You can find the new regulation Ill. Admin. Code tit 11 § 100.25 “Transfer of Alcohol” here. In brief, the new regulation explicates the process and justifications for retailers to transfer alcohol between each other. The old regulation just prohibited the practice absent Commission approval which didn’t give much guidance and, frankly, didn’t help regulators in determining what circumstances…
You’ll remember the fun of the 9th Circuit opinion in the VIP Products v. Jack Daniel’s case from back in April where the 9th Circuit reversed a finding in favor of the distiller finding that a dog toy called “Bad Spaniels” and bearing a striking resemblance to Tennessee’s favorite whisky bottle had First Amendment protection as an expressive work regardless of its commercial aspirations: You can read our piece on this liquor trademark case here. The best part of the opinion was this snippet: “Like the greeting cards in Gordon, the Bad Spaniels dog toy, although surely not the…
When we last wrote about this case we discussed how Pabst, the maker of Olympia beer removed the words “Pure Mountain Water” from the text on its website questioning whether that helped or hurt its push to dismiss the claims brought by the plaintiff in the false advertising suit against the beer maker over the Olympia brand asserting the packaging gives the false impression that the beer is made from artesian waters near the Olympia area of Washington as opposed to making the beer “at several mega-breweries throughout the country, including a location in Irwindale, California.”  The complaint has now…
The plaintiff, a wine and beer distributor bought beer in accordance with its contract with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US Inc. On March 15, 2020, before the plaintiff shipped its product, Disney voluntarily closed the parkes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney refused to accept Plaintiff’s product or to compensate the beer wholesaler for the beer. Four days later, the beer distributor filed an insurance claim for the loss of business income, extra expense, inventory, and accounts receivable caused by the pandemic asserting that the beer spoiled while Disney remained closed. The insurance company refused the beer distributor’s claim.…
Here’s a great case from behind the cheddar curtain. You know, the state where the Department of Revenue makes no bones about its right to serve law: Can an underage person possess and consume alcohol beverages on licensed premises? Yes. Persons under age 21 may possess and consume alcohol beverages if they are with their parents, guardians or spouses of legal drinking age; but this is at the discretion of the licensee. The licensed premises may choose to prohibit consumption and possession of alcohol beverages by underage persons. (Sec. 125.07(1), Wis. Stats.) A Wisconsin appellate panel helped the…
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has announced that the applications for the state’s second round of Business Interruption Grants go live on September 17. In the second round, an additional $220 million is available for small businesses in Illinois. The first round was a success – you can see the list of grant recipients here. The second round is open to all small businesses meeting the criteria, but there are some priorities established for this round: Heavily Impacted Industries – $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues,…
Citing to dictionary definitions of “margarita,” “mojito,” “rose,” and “spritz,” a group of Anheuser-Busch-Rita-beverage-buying consumers is looking to get some money claiming they (and potentially all other purchasers) were duped into buying Anheuser’s Rita “Cosmos” and “Mojitos” expecting beverages made with spirits and not malt beverage bases.  Demonstrative from Complaint These packaging examples from the complaint (link to complaint) demonstrate the main points, detailed through argument – that the use of certain words, both in common parlance and even in the regulatory updates from the Tax and Trade Bureau, lead consumers to believe, or have a common association with alcohol…
With Illinois’s limited cannabis dispensary licensing system the stakes are large for applicants that didn’t achieve the total 252 points that would allow participation in the upcoming lottery for the award of the provisional applications. A group of applicants that did not make the cut filed a lawsuit challenging the process and pointing out irregularities with the scoring process and questioning the fundamental fairness of the judging. Key assertions made in the complaint include statements about the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act’s requirements that applicants be given an opportunity to cure any deficiencies (410 ILCS 705/15-30(b)) and that some of…
Illinois’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has posted the list of tied applicants who will be proceeding to drawings for the 75 conditional dispensary licenses. You can find the list here (link to their website) in case that doesn’t work, here’s the text: https://www.idfpr.com/Forms/AUC/2020%20Top%20scorer%20document.pdf Also, here. (grabbed it natively) The post Illinois posts list of tied cannabis dispensary applicants that will proceed to lottery for new dispensary licenses appeared first on Libation Law Blog.…
A pair of farm wineries challenged a portion of Minnesota’s farm winery law that mandates the farm winery produce its wines from ingredients grown or produced in Minnesota as violating the dormant commerce clause by favoring in-state Minnesota wine ingredient producers over out-of-state (and also a claim for foreign commerce clause violation) wine ingredient producers. Here’s the way the statute read: Subd. 11.Farm winery. “Farm winery” is a winery operated by the owner of a Minnesota farm and producing table, sparkling, or fortified wines from grapes, grape juice, other fruit bases, or honey with a majority of the ingredients grown…
Bell’s Brewery is racking up wins for brewers’ rights to obtain arbitration where agreements mandate arbitrations between the parties but distributors look to state franchise laws try to preempt those rights. The sad fact is that many parties do not understand how advantageous to their relationship a good arbitration provision can be. Arbitration allows parties to craft the scope of their proceedings in fashions such as agreeing to limit discovery, agreeing to a timetable to say that any dispute needs to be ready for a hearing 90 days from initiation, etc. It also allows parties to keep their disputes private…
A beef in Florida over an ancient state food purity law’s right to beat out a federal regulation allowing the banned ingredient (grains of paradise) is coming to an appellate conclusion. Briefly,  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 Federal regulation and at a time when little was known about such compounds, declared different substances, including grains of paradise, adulterants and banned their use in liquor.  You will recall with amusement, the district…
We’ve written quite a bit over the years about Illinois’ beer franchise statute – the Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act (BIFDA) and lectured ad nausea regarding how this law that was meant to help small distributors against large brewers has now been turned on its head by economic conditions and is a cudgel used by powerful distributors to beat down small brewers. The Illinois legislature has been negligent in not taking up the issue of reform as states like Colorado have where recognition of the history and economic reality of these laws has taken hold and craft brewers have exemptions…
Full disclosure, we’re a sponsor of the Hospitality Business Association of Chicago and respect and admire their tireless and timely work on behalf of Chicago liquor licensees, Chicago restaurants, and in providing Chicago liquor law related information.  During the COVID-19 topsy-turvy the HBAC has been updating and regularly reporting on Chicago liquor licensee and Chicago restaurant licensee issues relevant to re-opening, liquor license and retail food license enforcement, inspections, required documentation, and signage.  As part of that work, they’ve been sending out a regularly updated letter regarding those issues. I’ve gotten permission to share it with you as it is…
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…