North Carolina Proposes Some Common-Sense Amendments to Modernize Its Brewing Laws That Advance Rights for Craft Brewers In the Face of Changing Times

Jim Koch (of Boston Beer fame) wrote an excellent polemic for the New York Times last week questioning some American attitudes towards beer.  A salient point from that article was that many state distribution laws developed over time from the end of prohibition and haven’t been updated since the 1970’s.  These distribution statutes were created […]

Food Safety Modernization Act Sanitary Transportation Waivers Issued for Restaurants and Grocery Stores That Deliver, and Inspected Milk and Mollusk Shipments

About a year ago the FDA issued the Food Safety Modernization Act Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food.  The rule governs the activities of all shippers, loaders, carries (motor vehicle and rail (no boats, no planes)) and receivers engaged in the transportation of food (including animal food).  Unlike many government regulations, […]

Menu Labeling Standards In Crosshairs As Applied to Convenience and Grocery Stores As May 5 Compliance Deadline Looms

Given the new administration’s take on excessive regulation and its distaste for the Affordable Care Act, it was only a matter of time before some of the newer menu labeling standards came under fire.  The mandatory calorie disclosures set to take effect under these rules on May 5, 2017, are a sore spot for retailers […]

Arguing With the Trademark Office Over Wine? – La Finca Wine Trademark Decision Provides Interesting Lessons Regarding Acceptable Source Material

The TTAB (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board) recently affirmed the decision from the USPTO refusing to register the mark “La Finca” for wines on the basis that the vintner didn’t demonstrate that the brand had acquired distinctiveness since the translation of the term is “the estate” or “the farm” which is descriptive for wines.  You […]

Havana Club Dispute Back In The Spotlight After Congressional Reps Ask For Administration To Undo Predecessor’s Ruling

The latest turn in a decades long fight over control of the Havana Club trademark for rum came from the Capitol this week.  Congressional leaders from Florida (home of Bacardi’s U.S. headquarters) have sent a letter to the new administration asking for the repeal of an Obama administration decision to allow Cubaexport, the Cuban company […]

Online Wine Retailer Wins Case Against False Claims Assertions Over Failure to Collect Local Taxes For Sales

In a recent win for online wine retailers (not wineries selling direct), the Illinois appellate court has upheld the dismissal of an action against online wine retailer alleging it violated Illinois’ False Claims Act (740 ILCS 175) in failing to collect and pay the local retailer’s occupation tax for the municipality where the wine […]

Example Agreements: Spirits Manufacturing Agreement (Licensing) – Contract Distilling With Enhanced “Flash” Aging

This recent dispute between a distiller and a company looking to contract manufacture a whiskey called Rattleback Rye has resulted in an opinion from a federal district court in South Carolina denying a motion to dismiss based on breach of contract grounds against both the company and its principals, but granting dismissal of claims for […]

Craft Brewers Need to Watch This Texas Dispute Over Getting Money From Wholesalers For Selling Distribution Rights – State Files Opening Brief in Appeal of Challenge to Texas Brewer’s Ability to Sell Their Distribution Rights for Payment

It used to be that brewers signed with wholesalers and gave up their self-distribution rights and didn’t get any money for them.  Then some enterprising brewers realized that wholesalers sue each other and brewers for the value of those rights so the rights must have value.  They started asking for payment when they signed with […]

Lawsuit Challenges Wisconsin’s Unconstitutional Ban On Foreign Butters That Don’t Submit to the State’s Arbitrary Grading Process

Protectionist statutes meant to insulate dominant state industries by restricting or banning sales of foods and beverages that compete with local products aren’t just inane, they’re unconstitutional.  That hasn’t stopped the State of Wisconsin from keeping (and mildly enforcing) a law dating back the the 1950s that requires the grading of any butter sold in […]

11th Circuit Sides With Craft Dairy And Finds Florida Regulation Governing What Can Be Called “Skim Milk” Violates Free Speech

In case you weren’t aware, skim milk is a byproduct of cream production.  Skim milk comes into existence when cream is skimmed off the top of milk. It is literally, milk that has had the fat removed through skimming.  As an incidental part of this process, the natural vitamin A present in whole milk is […]

Using A Photograph in Advertising or On Your Label? Better Make Sure You Have Rights From the Photographer AND the People In It. Natty Light Sued In Lawsuit Over Using Photograph From Social Media Contest.

Ensure that you get the proper releases if you’re using a photograph with human subjects.  Whether on your label or in your advertising – if you’ve gathered photographs from a festival or from fans through a social media campaign you need clearance.  That means a release from the artist – he photographer – as well […]