A Bridge too Far for Granholm? Florida Importer Challenges California Three-Tier System

A Florida-based wine  importer is hoping to shake up the California three-tier system.  If successful, any importer or wholesaler in the U.S. may be permitted to sell directly to California retailers. Earlier this year, Orion Wine Imports, LLC filed a lawsuit against the director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control arguing that licensed […]

California Tied House Law Upheld by Federal Appeals Court

An en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit (the federal appeals court with jurisdiction for the nine western states) has rejected a First Amendment challenge to California’s tied house laws.  In so doing, the court overturned an earlier decision by a three-judge panel that had applied a more rigorous standard […]

New Bill Targets California Alcohol Delivery Services

California lawmakers are considering legislation that would regulate companies offering alcohol delivery services, such as Instacart and Drizly. Senate Bill 254  stops short of requiring “delivery network services” from obtaining a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”), but does require that the ABC review and approve of their “system” before they engage […]

ABC Provides Guidance on Passport Events

On March 4, 2016, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) published an Industry Advisory providing guidance to licensees, marketing companies and winegrower associations participating in “passport” marketing events. Most passport events have the same format – consumers purchase an identifiable event glass, wrist band, passport or punch card from a marketing company or […]

New Law Amends California Tied-House Law

Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 780, a law which helps clarify the rules that permit an alcohol beverage producer, importer, or wholesaler (collectively, a “supplier”) to list or mention on- and off- premise retailers in supplier-sponsored advertising, including supplier websites and social media channels.  As described in more detail below, the new law is fairly […]

5 Tips for Alcohol Beverage Suppliers Participating in Events & Festivals

Festival season approaches, and many promoters reach out to supplier-side licensees (including wineries and breweries) asking them to participate in or sponsor such events.  Here are five important tips to keep in mind when participating in, or deciding whether to participate in, such events held in California: 1) Make sure your sponsorship is legal. Who?  California ABC […]

New Bill to Aid Private Equity Firms Applying for ABC License

The California Senate Committee on Governmental Organization is considering a bill to streamline the process for qualification of private equity firms seeking to hold an interest in a state alcohol beverage license.  SB 796 would add Section 23405.4 to the California Business and Professions Code, which would allow a private equity fund to hold a license and […]

California Tied House Laws and Social Media

According to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) recently accused a California winery of violating tied house laws by sending the following tweet:  “Two days till @SaveMart Grape Escape in Downtown #Sacramento!” SaveMart Supermarkets holds a California alcohol beverage retailer license, and the ABC considered the […]

Earthquake-Related Info from ABC & TTB

Both the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) and the Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) have made information available on their websites for alcohol beverage businesses (including producers, wholesalers, and retailers) seeking earthquake related information.  Here are links to those bulletins: ABC’s Earthquake-Related Information for ABC Licensees  TTB’s […]

New California Law Allows Wine Tastings at Farmers’ Markets

On July 8, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing state licensed winegrowers (Type 02 license holders) to host “instructional tasting events” at certified state farmers’ markets.   The bill (AB 2488) passed the Senate last month and had the support of the Wine Institute and Family Winemakers of California. Prior to the law’s passage, […]

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