Libation Law Blog

Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Regulatory and Legal Updates

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A mischaracterization of what a Michigan statute regulates and what rights of a winery/cidery it impacts created a disappointing result for Michigan winery/cidery arguing that federal law allowing for bonded transfer of wine and cider preempted the state’s restrictions on the winery/cidery’s acceptance of wine and cider in bond for eventual sale to consumers. We initially covered this case when it was filed back in July. You can read that entry here for the background and arguments asserted in the complaint and the winery/cidery’s requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The winery/cidery wanted to accept the bonded…
In a blow against some restrictive trade practice regulations Washington’s Court of Appeals recently struck several rules of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board as overly broad and unsupported by the state’s liquor statute. The background for the challenge was the 2012 amendment to Washington’s liquor laws which ended the state’s monopoly on the sale of liquor. The enacting legislation started with the following noble intent statement: The people of the state of Washington, in enacting this initiative measure, find that the state government monopoly on liquor distribution and liquor stores in Washington and the state government regulations that…
Patagonia’s (the clothing maker) lawsuit against Anheuser Busch will proceed following a finding that Patagonia may (just may…) be able to support those claims that its brand is one of the most recognized and famous in the world. By way of background – Anheuser-Busch recently launched a “Patagonia” beer at ski resorts in Colorado under the name “Patagonia Brewing Company” and went on to register a trademark for “Patagonia” in beer. Here’s what that looked like: Picture from Lawsuit by Patagonia over Anheuser-Busch Patagonia Beer. Ski Resort Sales Pop-up. Guess what the sales staff wore? Picture from Lawsuit by Patagonia…
The Center for Food Safety a national no-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization recently published, in partnership with the Center for Cannabis Safety, a report evaluating 40 CBD producers on their production and processing methods, testing protocols and transparency to consumers. In addition to detailing the manufacturing practices and providing information about the organic certification of the CBD producers, and what processing techniques they utilize in CBD extraction, the Hemp CBD report also contains results on multiple issues (self-reported by CBD producers) regarding the CBD producer’s testing for the presence of pesticides, heavy metals such as lead, and…
This case is interesting because other recent attempts by neighbors of cannabis growers to sue for diminished land values and enjoyment of real property have met with dismissal by district courts finding that allegations of diminished market value of land are insufficient to constitute an injury under RICO where that statute requires “proof of concrete financial loss rather than mere injury to a valuable, intangible property interest.”  But this case isn’t going that way. The court has decided to let the claims proceed against the marijuana grower. The plaintiff, Momtazi Family LLC, who operated and owned a vineyard that is…
A Florida based wine importer, Orion Wine Imports, LLC and its owner brought an action challenging the constitutionality of the California statute that permit alcoholic beverages to be imported to California only when consigned and delivered to a licensed importer at the importer’s licensed premises or at a licensed public warehouse. The plaintiffs claimed the California statute violates the Commerce Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause and sought to require California to offer permits to out-of-state wine importers and wholesalers to obtain licenses under the same or similar licensure terms as in-state importers and wholesalers as well as to…
One of our favorite alcohol advertising cases is finally progressing again. The 8th Circuit has set September 26, 2019, as the oral argument date for the parties in Missouri Broadcasters v. Schmitt et al. The case is a challenge by an advertiser, a manufacturer, and a retailer to stop Missouri’s alcohol advertising rules that allegedly impermissibly regulate truthful advertising by banning certain forms of advertisements and compelling others. Namely, regulations on advertising beer wine and spirits: Barring wholesalers, wineries, distilleries or breweries from advertising sales at a single retailer as opposed to promoting two or more; Barring media companies, radio…
You’d be hard pressed to find a stronger condemnation of the failure to hold an en banc hearing than this recent dissent filed in Total Wine’s challenge to the post and hold provisions of Connectcicut’s alcohol regulatory laws. We wrote about how Total Wine lost this challenge back in February. While the three-judge panel that decided Total Wine wouldn’t win the case noted the circuit split between their decision and the way the 4th and 9th Circuits had addressed the issue, they still upheld the state’s post and hold law under a decades-old precedent. Turns out, that didn’t sit…
The 7th Circuit has reversed and remanded a district court’s dismissal of a small Wisconsin brewer’s antitrust challenge to allegedly anticompetitive and monopolistic practices in the Ontario beer market. The district court had dismissed Mountain Crest SRL’s Sherman Act lawsuit against large brewers Anheuser-Busch Inbev and Molson Coors. The small brewer’s assertions were that the larger brewers allegedly conspired through their ownership of Canadian retail stores (the Beer Store) to keep other brewers from successfully selling into the Ontario beer market and from bringing beers packaged in anything larger than six-pack containers by contracting. The complaint asserted this…
A “Ponzi scheme for wine” – that’s how the government summarized the operations of the wine merchant who ran the now-defunct Premier Cru in Berkeley, California. Customers bought wine and wine-futures from Premier Cru and were not always in direct possession of the wines they “owned” through purchases made from Premier Cru. Importantly, they were not always able to confirm that the wines were in the possession or ordered by Premier Cru – either because they were stored at Premier Cru when purchased and never sent to the customer, the customer wanted to take possession but Premier Cru never…
Our last update on the ongoing corn syrup saga was that MillerCoors had appealed the district court’s decision that granted it an injunction for most of the corn syrup advertising but failed to stop the use of the “made with” “brewed with” and “use” language in Anheuser Busch’s corn syrup ads. Anheuser has now filed its response brief in the appeal (read it here) and MillerCoors has filed its reply (read it here). Briefly (yes, I went there), Anheuser’s response is that the district court was correct and that MillerCoors’ beers are “made with” brewed with”…
House Bill 3610 became an amalgam of rights for Illinois’s hospitality industry, combining an amendment to the rights of brewpubs with a bill that allows bars and restaurants from Chicago to Effingham to sell growlers to patrons in the great state of Illinois. And now it is Public Act 101-0517 thanks to Governor Pritzker’s signature. Here’s what it does for bars and restaurants in Illinois: Growlers/Crowlers (yes, both) are no longer solely within the purview of breweries and brewpubs. Now, on-premises retail licensees (bars and restaurants and anyone else that gets an on-premise license) can fill growlers/crowlers as well. The…
It’s officially a public act. As we wrote about before on this bill, many new rights (in line with those available to wineries and breweries) are in store for Illinois craft distillers now that Governor Pritzker has signed this amendment to the Illinois Liquor Control Act. These include creation of two new classes of craft distillers – a class 1 and class 2 that can: Class 1 Craft Distiller Ability to self-distribute Increase from 2500 to 5000 gallons that can be used for self-distribution or direct sales to consumer from your tasting room for on or off premise consumption…
Here’s the link to our previous piece about this suit over that Scotch Trooper affiliated whisky and the Scotch Whisky Association’s attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill based on the use of the designation “Virginia-Highland” and the use of the Scotch Trooper logo on a bottle which, as it happens, includes the work “Scotch.” The CEO of the Virginia Distillery Co., posted this statement on the company’s website back when the lawsuit got going noting that they “stand behind” their product and its labeling. The Scotch Whisky Association has voluntarily dismissed the case. and the AP…
Last year’s TTB suspension of Skokie Valley Beverage’s wholesaler’s permit which asserted the permit was invalid based on unreported ownership changes should have got you thinking about whether or not at both the federal and state level, you’ve had changes in control or proprietorship that you were supposed to report. Through December 31, 2019, the TTB is running a voluntary program for wholesalers and importers that have undergone a change in control or proprietorship but that haven’t filed a new permit application within 30 days of the change. The program supplements the TTB’s ongoing voluntary disclosure program (yes, there’s an
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.…