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WSDI is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeremy Kruidenier as General Counsel.

January 3, 2019

Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois announced today it has appointed Jeremy Kruidenier, Vice Executive Director of WSDI, to also serve as General Counsel to the executive leadership team.

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Illinois Liquor Control Commission extends deadline to comment on Coupons and Promotions and Naming Rights

July 5, 2019

The ILCC has extended the deadline date to July 19, 2019 to submit comments regarding Coupons and Promotions and Naming Rights.

Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation Clarifying Powers and Duties of Illinois Liquor Control Commission

July 3, 2019

Today, Gov JB Pritzker took the following bill action:

Bill Number: HB 2577

Description: Allows the commission to appoint investigators who will possess the powers of a peace officer and clarifies that inspectors are not considered peace office officers. Also exempts small businesses from providing a bond to the Department of Revenue.

Action: Signed

Effective: Immediately

Moderation and the Icelandic Model

July 17, 2018

Source: Public Action Management

By Pamela S. Erickson, CEO

Overall, Americans are consuming less alcohol. This is especially true for young adults and underage youth who are drinking a lot less than past generations. Part of this phenomenon may be due to our focus on reducing underage drinking, but there is also a health trend that promotes healthy eating and fitness. Young adults may be more likely to look at labels for ingredients, calorie and alcohol content. It seems clear that a concern about health has impacted alcohol consumption. Millennials say that they anticipate not drinking as much as their parent's generation.

For alcohol this trend in moderation has spawned various projects and programs. An example is Dry January, which started in the United Kingdom in 2013 and this year had over 3 million participants. We have also seen programs touting "mindful drinking" whereby one chooses to drink less or not at all; and, organizations like Better Drinking Culture, Hello Sunday Morning and Club Soda have resources for joining the mindful drinking movement. Daybreakers has organized close to 200 drug-and-alcohol-free, morning dance parties since it started 5 years ago.

Federal Court Dismisses Antitrust Challenge To Connecticut's Liquor Pricing Law

June 6, 2017

Source: Hartford Courant

By David Owens and Edmund H. Mahony

A federal court on Tuesday dismissed an effort that would have lowered prices and increased competition in the Connecticut liquor market by overturning the outdated state system under which manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers combine to establish minimum prices.

In dismissing a suit by retailer Total Wine & More, Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall said the laws and regulations establishing the complex Connecticut pricing system cannot be preempted by federal antitrust law that prohibits activities restricting interstate commerce and competition in the marketplace.

Berkshire Hathaway vs the Three-Tier System - The Warren Buffet-owned McLane food distribution company moves forward with its quest for a Texas wine distribution license

June 5, 2017

Source: Wine-Searcher

By Liza B Zimmerman

While it's debatable whether the US's three-tier, wine-distribution system may be outdated and inefficient, most of the industry players in Texas seem to be happy with its current structure. - both the Texas courts and local wine executives seem to be showing a cold shoulder to a food service company's continued push to get a wine distribution license in Texas.


The current system has been outdated for 40 years, says a beverage attorney on background. "The big guys control the capital and they are making a lot of money." But they also provide a great service, he adds. Perhaps that is why many key players still value their services in Texas.


The McLane Company Inc - which has sold food products in Texas since the 1980s through the AmeriServ and McLane Foodservice trademarks - has been litigating with the state's regulatory board the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to get their own wine distribution license for several years.

Wine and Spirit Distributors Impact in Illinois

May 9, 2017

Wine and spirit distributors have a tremendous impact on the Illinois economy. Please click on the button to see our fact sheet.

Phusion Projects Issues Voluntary Recall of Signature Cocktails

March 27, 2017

Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois has been notified that Phusion Projects has issued a voluntary recall of a limited number of their 16 oz. Signature Cocktails products because some may contain very small, thin pieces of plastic film that have peeled away from the can’s liner.

Bootlegging - NOW A FELONY

Winter 2017

Source:  Illinois Liquor Control Commission

The practice of bootlegging has been a common, illegal practice since the time of prohibition and beyond. In the modern post-prohibition era, bootlegging still exists, but in a different form.

Bootlegging has become sophisticated in the modern era to circumvent the three-tier system that is the basic structure of the alcoholic beverage industry in Illinois. The three-tier system includes (1) the manufacturer, who sells the product to (2) the wholesaler/distributor, who then sells the product to (3) the retailer. By law, retailers must purchase their alcohol products from a distributor. If a retailer runs out of a product, the retailer is prohibited from purchasing it from another retailer for resale. This includes crossing state lines and transporting alcohol from another state and reselling it in Illinois.

Indiana Wine Seller Disputes Michigan Shipping Ban

January 23, 2017

Source: Courthouse News Service

By Andy Olesko

DETROIT (CN) – Three wine-loving Michiganders and an Indiana wine retailer filed a federal lawsuit Friday against Michigan officials, challenging a law that prohibits out-of-state retailers from sending wine to Wolverine State consumers.

Lebamoff Enterprises says it maintains an online site and ships wine to customers but is unable to obtain a retail license under Michigan law.

The company’s lawsuit – filed against Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Andrew Deloney, head of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission – claims the state law is unconstitutional because it restricts interstate commerce and violates the U.S. Constitution’s Privileges and Immunities Clause.

SB2933 Fails on Third Reading

May 11, 2016

Good news! Senate Bill 2933 failed on third reading today and has been put on Postponed Consideration. This anti-business legislation would have unnecessarily put retailers confidential tax information at risk. We, along with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association would like to thank our industry members for engaging their legislators and requesting their NO vote. We will continue to keep a close eye on this legislation should it reappear in the coming weeks.

Public Supports Strong Alcohol Policies: New report available

April 27, 2016

A new report from the Campaign for a Healthy Alcohol Marketplace finds that the public is generally happy with current alcohol regulations. And, contrary to what you may hear in the media, there is no cry for greater convenience for buying alcohol products. The report, "Public Supports Strong Alcohol Policies," looks at a variety of policies and public attitudes as expressed in recent surveys. Link to full report here.

WSDI Bulletin - Consumer Instant Redeemable Coupon Practice In Illinois

April 20, 2016

Recently, there has been confusion expressed concerning retailer specific instant redeemable coupon (IRC’s) programs in Illinois.  In particular, Jewel-Osco has advised WSDI Members that their in-store coupon program, wherein manufacturers and distributors would fund the printing of the coupons and furnish the manpower to merchandise the program by attaching the PLU/IRC’s to the in-store product, has received State regulatory approval.  WSDI has discussed such practices with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission Staff and the below summarizes the current law on retailer IRC programing in Illinois.

Governor Announces Appointments

March 18, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner has made an appointment to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, and made two reappointments to the State Board of Health.

Arsenic in Wine Lawsuit Thrown Out

March 24, 2016

Source: wine-searcher

By Blake Gray


A "meritless" legal action is dismissed, but an appeal could be on the cards.


California's wine industry won a big fight Wednesday afternoon without even entering the ring, as a judge dismissed a lawsuit claiming that some cheap California wines have dangerously high levels of arsenic.


The class-action suit, filed last year, said that 83 cheap, mass-production California wines had arsenic levels higher than those allowed in the state for water. But there is no standard for arsenic in wine in the US, and the arsenic levels cited in the lawsuit were half of those considered acceptable in Ontario, Canada, which has some of the most rigorous wine standards in the world.


In a brief statement, the Wine Institute called the lawsuit "meritless" and said, "The FDA has been monitoring the arsenic content in food and beverages for more than 20 years. Arsenic is naturally occurring in the environment in air, soil and water and is present in virtually all foods and beverages."

Chicago's Total, Effective Tax Rate on Liquor is 28%

March 21, 2016

Source: Illinois Policy

By Chris Lentino


The combined federal, state, county and city taxes on alcohol result in a 28 percent effective tax rate on a bottle of spirits bought in Chicago.


It costs a lot to make a cocktail in Chicago, even in your own home.

Take this example: A standard, 750 milliliter bottle of Absolut Vodka (40 percent alcohol by volume) costs $21.99 in Chicago – but the total taxes (seen and unseen) amount to $7.11. State alcohol taxes add $1.69 to the price of the liquor, while the federal government tacks on $2.14. These taxes are below-the-line taxes that are included in the price of the bottle, and consumers are generally unaware they are paying them. Add to those below-the-line taxes $1.03 in city and county alcohol taxes and $2.25 for the city’s 10.25 percent sales tax – which is the highest among any major city in the nation. At the register, the consumer will pay $25.27 for that bottle of vodka. The total tax burden for this alcohol: 28.16 percent.

California Court Dismisses Arsenic Lawsuit Against Wineries

March 23, 2016

Source: Wine Spectator

By Ben O'Donnell


For over a year now, some of California's biggest wine producers stood accused of "poisoning" consumers with excessive levels of arsenic in 83 wine brands. Today, a judge in California's Superior Court in Los Angeles dismissed the case.


The hearing was in response to the plaintiffs' supplemental filing alleging that the wineries were in violation of California labeling laws by not disclosing the presence of arsenic, per a series of regulations known as "Prop. 65." The wineries argued that their current labels, which warn about the dangers of alcohol, meet the law's requirements since there has been no government ruling that the trace levels of arsenic found in wine pose a health risk.


"The wine producers correctly argue that their existing Prop. 65 warnings comply with the Prop. 65 regulatory program," wrote Judge John Shepard Wiley in his decision.

New Colorado Sales Tax Reporting Requirements Could Affect Wineries

March 4, 2016

A Colorado law (C.R.S. 39-12-112.3.5), which imposes notification and reporting requirements on businesses that do not collect sales taxes on their sales in Colorado, was recently upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. This law affects all “non-collecting retailers” that sell more than $100,000 per year in Colorado, a group that includes some out-of-state wineries making direct-to-consumer (DtC) sales into Colorado.


4th Annual Unity Dinner / Dance

March 5, 2016

Beverage Retailers Alliance, Inc. invites you to attend the 4th Annual Unity Dinner/Dance at Meridian Banquet and Conference Center, 1701 Algonquin Road, Rolling Meadows, IL on March 5, 2016. Industry Honorees are Bharat Thakkar of Payless Tobacco & Liquor and Armanetti Wine & Spirits, Jake Leinenkugel of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, and James Webster of Webster Powell, P.C.

Ivan Fernandez takes the reins as new ILCC Enforcement Director

February 19, 2016

Source: ILCC eNews


The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) has promoted Ivan Fernandez into the newly created position of Director of Enforcement. As enforcement director, Fernandez will oversee the reorganization of the ILCC Investigations Division to better address statewide concerns, such as illegal importation, trade practice violations, and the sale of alcohol to minors.

A member of the ILCC staff since 1996, Fernandez has served in a variety of roles over the years, including legal counsel, associate director, and acting director. "Ivan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this new position," says Executive Director U-Jung Choe. "We could not have found a better-suited individual for taking the lead on the design of our new enforcement activities."

Goose Island sells brewpub to Anheuser-Busch

February 19, 2016

Source: Chicago Tribune

By Josh Noel


Five years after selling Goose Island's production brewery to Anheuser-Busch InBevin a deal that launched an era of consolidation in the craft beer industry, brewery founder John Hall is selling the brewpub where Goose was founded to the same global beer behemoth.


Terms were not disclosed.


Fulton Street Brewery, which operates as Goose Island Beer Co., will become the parent company of the brewpub on Clybourn Avenue, which Hall started in 1988 after a career in the corrugated box industry.


Hall said AB InBev was unable to buy the brewpub under Illinois law at the time of the first sale, in 2011, but also didn’t have much interest.


“They didn’t understand the value, which they do now,” he said.

Locals Oppose Plans to Bring Anheuser Busch Brewery to San Diego

February 18, 2016

Source: NBC

By Laura McVicker


Local beer enthusiasts are opposing a project that would bring an Anheuser-Busch-owned brewery to San Diego's East Village.


The Downtown Community Planning Council on Wednesday approved the plan for beer giant Anheuser-Bush to open up 10 Barrel Brewing Brew Pub in the 1500 block of E Street.


But critics are opposing the brewery representing itself as a craft brewery.


Organizers of the San Diego Brewers Guild said they strongly oppose the brewery's opening. They say the brewpub will devalue local craft breweries whose beer is actually made in San Diego.

Craft brewers are teaming up to take on Big Beer

February 17, 2016

Source: Business Insider

By Kate Taylor


Every day, it seems like craft brewers are performing new acts of resistance against the giants of the beer industry.


On Tuesday, two major craft brewers, Victory Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewing, joined forces under parent company Artisanal Brewing Ventures (ABV) to better compete in a category Big Beer is determined to dominate.


"As the first major transaction of 2016 within the rapidly evolving craft beer industry, this union presents a new model for craft beer partnerships by preserving brewery independence while pooling deep collective resources," the company wrote in a press release announcing the merger.

Anheuser-Busch Pushes Against Oklahoma Liquor Law Modernization Effort

February 17, 2016

Source: Public Radio Tulsa

By Matt Trotter


A state senator's effort to modernize Oklahoma liquor laws has the world's largest brewer on the defensive.


Anheuser-Busch is fighting Clark Jolley's bill to allow beer and wine sales in grocery stores because it would also end their ability to distribute low-point beer. They would have to use wholesalers, who are already required for moving regular beer.


In a statement, the company said the bill could force their exit from Oklahoma. Low-point beer accounts for 90 percent of Oklahoma beer sales, and Anheuser-Busch sells 60 percent of that.


Jolley said the goal isn't to put anyone out of or into business.

Alcohol Delivery App Thirstie Pours Itself a Double, Acquires DrinkFly

February 17, 2016

Source: Xconomy

By Joao-Pierre S. Ruth


The race to be the top app that people use to order alcohol for delivery took a new turn on Wednesday.


New York-based Thirstie has acquired DrinkFly, a Chicago-based company also in the alcohol delivery business. With this deal, Thirstie gets into four new markets, bringing its coverage to more than 22 cities, says CEO Devaraj Southworth. The DrinkFly founders will remain onboard, operating in Chicago for Thirstie. Southworth would not disclose the size of the deal, but it was for cash and equity.


DrinkFly had been growing its sales, he says, and Thirstie wants to further scale up the business. "It's going to help us in the Chicago market," he says. "We had a presence there; it's going to make our presence much stronger." The multitude of craft brewers across Illinois, who could become supplier-partners, also made DrinkFly attractive.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America And Glazer's Announce Post-Combination Regional Commercial Structure And Leadership

February 17, 2016

Source: PR Newswire


MIAMI and DALLAS, Feb. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of the preparations to launch Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits, LLC ("Southern Glazer's"), Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. ("Southern") and Glazer's, Inc. ("Glazer's") today announced the regional commercial structure that will take effect following the combination of the two companies, which is planned to close at the end of the second quarter 2016.

Southern and Glazer's also announced key leaders for the future Southern Glazer's commercial operation, each of whom will report directly to Southern Glazer's future Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brad Vassar.


Brad Vassar commented, "We are pleased to announce today that Southern Glazer's will begin its work with the most experienced and talented group of commercial leaders in the industry. Our regional structure will empower our leaders and their teams to more effectively and efficiently serve our suppliers and customers, positioning the new company for growth and success. We congratulate these leaders on their appointments and look forward to communicating additional commercial leadership appointments as our integration planning process continues."

The commercial leaders for Southern Glazer's will be:

Virginia: Va.'s growing craft distillery industry pushes against regulatory roadblocks

February 14, 2016

Source: Washington Post

By Jenna Portnoy


Ever since Virginia slapped strict laws onto the sale of distilled spirits after Prohibition, enterprising busi­ness­peo­ple have looked for ways to set the devil's water free.


This year, the legislature is weighing bills pushed by local makers of small-batch liquor that would allow them to pocket more of the profit from their bottle sales and give customers inventive ways to imbibe the strong stuff.


The bills are among dozens seeking to ease alcohol regulations in Virginia, including efforts to serve drinks in cigar shops and art studios, reduce the amount of food restaurants must sell in order to be allowed to pour cocktails, and allow state-run ­liquor stores to sell tourism merchandise such as "Virginia Is for Lovers" swag.

Louisiana: Alcohol tax increase probable

Febraury 15, 2016

Source: The Times

By Noah Bryant Ballard


For the most part, Louisiana has not raised taxes on alcohol since 1948. That is likely to change as the State Legislature works to address an historic budget crisis.


State Rep. Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches, has filed legislation to increase excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. In January, Gov. John Bel Edwards called for higher taxes on alcohol as a part of his menu of proposed tax options, and he repeated it in his address before the Legislature at the opening of the special legislative session Sunday.


Cox's bill, HB 27, aligns Louisiana's tax rates with other southern states, such as Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.

Category Management and "Tied House"

February 11, 2016

Source: TTB


In response to industry requests for clarification, TTB  has issued general guidance concerning promotional activities commonly associated with category  management programs  and whether or  not those activities are lawful.


Specifically, TTB Ruling 2016 -1,  The Shelf Plan and Shelf Schematic Exception to the "Tied House" Prohibition, and Activities Outside Such Exception clarifies what is and  what is not permissible in terms of shelf plans and  shelf schematics.


The beverage alcohol industry has been experiencing phenomenal growth with many new, often small, businesses entering the market.  Consequently, maintaining a level playing field has never been more important than  today. We are committed to enforcing our trade practice jurisdiction so that  consumers can  continue to enjoy a  wide selection of products and  industry members can compete for those consumers in a fair and open marketplace.

Alaska: Gov. Walker proposes bill that doubles state's alcohol tax

February 11, 2016

Source: News Miner

By Matt Buxton


Another tax proposal, another hearing where legislators are left wondering about its economic impacts.


This time it was the House Labor and Commerce Committee that found itself frustrated when reviewing House Bill 248, a bill that would double the state's tax on alcohol.


The bill, put forward by Gov. Bill Walker as one of a myriad of proposals to help cover the multi-billion-dollar gulf between the state's income and spending, would increase the tax on an alcohol from 10 cents to 20 cents per drink.

"At Rest" Law Would Require Unloading of Booze in S.C.

February 10, 2016

Source: Free Times

By Eva Moore


It almost sounds like a joke: Under a bill pending in the state Senate, an alcohol distributor couldn't sell booze to a retailer unless the distributor had first unloaded the booze at a building somewhere in South Carolina. Wine and liquor would have to remain at the location for 24 hours before being loaded up again and delivered to a retailer; beer could be immediately reloaded onto a truck as soon as it had been unloaded.


"Isn't that just make-work?" asked Sen. Brad Hutto, an Orangeburg Democrat, who expressed skepticism during a pair of recent hearings on the bill. "I guess it'd be a full employment act for at least those five guys that had to unload the truck."


It's known as an "at-rest law," and many states have them. Law enforcement - and existing distributors - say it'll combat "paper wholesalers": alcohol distributors that have a licensed South Carolina location but actually just ship alcohol from a warehouse in another state to retailers in South Carolina.

Breakthru Beverage Group Announces Corporate Leadership Additions

February 2, 2016

Source: Brewbound


Breakthru Beverage Group is pleased to announce key members of its corporate leadership team who will be overseeing the company's operational, human resource, finance and legal divisions. This team combines industry veterans with diverse experience and backgrounds from both legacy Charmer Sunbelt and Wirtz Beverage. All have been actively involved in the integration efforts since the company was announced last fall and will oversee their respective teams across the country.


"The wealth of experience and knowledge from each individual leading Breakthru's functions is among the best in the industry," said Greg Baird, CEO, Breakthru Beverage Group. "Our ability to close this complicated transaction, secure necessary licensing and financing and integrate efficiently is largely attributable to the hard work of this team."

The French Republic Elevated Mel Dick to Commandeur in the Order of Agricultural Merit

February 2, 2016

Source: PR Newswire


Mel Dick, President, Wine Division and Senior Vice President of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) and has been elevated to the rank of Commandeur in the Order of Agricultural Merit. Mel Dick joined Southern in 1969 and is an early founder and leader of the company. On December 17, 2015, Philippe Létrilliart, the Consul General of France in Miami, officially presented Mel with the recognition and medal for the Order of Agricultural Merit-an honor bestowed by the French Republic for outstanding contribution to agriculture.


Philippe Létrilliart, Consul General of France in Miami, said, "A great ambassador of the French Art de vivre, Mel Dick has dedicated his life to sharing the enjoyment of wine and fine products. For his constant efforts to promote French wine and the French culture through Southern Wines and Spirits' development, and for his unfailing friendship with my country, I was glad to award him with the collar of Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Mérite Agricole, as a new token of France's gratitude and appreciation."

Powdered alcohol found in two UK prisons

February 2, 2016

Source: The Spirits Business

By Melita Kiely


Powdered alcohol has been discovered in two UK prisons for the first time, according to national news reports.


As a result, prison guards throughout the UK have been warned to remain vigilant over inmates attempting to obtain powdered alcohol, reported The Sun.


Hm Prisons Inspectorate told the news site: "There have been two occasions recently where we have been to prisons where they have intercepted powdered alcohol.


"We know it is being developed.

Arizona: House panel OKs scrapping liquor-store buffer zone

February 2, 2016

Source: Arizona Daily Star

By Howard Fischer


A House panel voted Tuesday to make it easier for liquor stores to move closer, or next door, to schools and churches.


On a 5-3 vote the Committee on Rural and Economic Development agreed existing law, which requires a buffer of at least 300 feet, should be scrapped.


Under HB 2373, that buffer would not apply to stores of at least 4,500 square feet - as long as liquor sales comprise less than half their business and they also offer fresh produce for sale.


Several neighborhood activists objected.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America Announces Retirement of Will Conniff, EVP, GM of Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota

February 1, 2016

Source: PR Newswire


Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern)-the nation's leading wine and spirits distributor with operations in 35 markets-today announced the retirement of Will Conniff, Executive Vice President, General Manager of the company's Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota divisions. Conniff's retirement will be effective March 1, 2016.


The industry veteran has devoted 38 years to Southern after joining the Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida division in 1978, as a sales assistant in the Orlando, Fla. market. Over the years, Conniff has risen quickly through the ranks: In 1981, he was promoted to Restaurant Supervisor and then named Restaurant Division Manager in 1983. In 1993, Conniff was named Vice President and General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida's South Florida sales region. Following the acquisition of two Kentucky distributorships in 1998 by Southern, Conniff became Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky and continued to add additional markets under his leadership in the years that followed-Illinois in 2005 and Minnesota in 2012.


February 1, 2016

Source: Business Wire


Bacardi has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Treasury to bring to light the reasons for the decision to grant the renewal of the illegally obtained trademark registration of Havana Club to the Cuban government. Bacardi contends this decision was done in violation of the language and spirit of U.S. law.


Bacardi seeks all documents, communications and files that were created, used, or maintained by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. Department of State, Executive Office of the President of the United States (POTUS), the National Security Council (NSC), U.S. Department of Treasury and/or any third parties relating to the Havana Club rum trademark registration action.


The action stems from a January 11, 2016, decision by the U.S. government in violation of Section 211 and long-standing OFAC policy to abruptly reverse its position and grant the license. Within 48 hours, after years of inactivity, the PTO approved the renewal of the registration of a trademark for a brand which was confiscated without compensation from its founders into the hands of the Cuban government - even though Congress has prohibited U.S. courts from recognizing it.

Bill to allow wine shipping to Arizona homes introduced

January 28, 2016

Source: The Republic

By Richard Ruelas


A bill that would allow Arizona consumers to order wine and have it shipped to their homes or businesses was introduced in the Arizona Legislature on Thursday.


More than a dozen lawmakers signed on as primary sponsors of the measure, with another 21 listed as co-sponsors. The bipartisan group of lawmakers includes members of legislative leadership.


The bill was crafted by the California-based wine-industry group Free the Grapes, which has backed similar legislation in other states.


Arizona wineries were among the state interest groups that helped shape the bill, according to Gordon C. James, the Phoenix-based public-relations firm representing Free the Grapes in Arizona.

Right Distribution Is Key To Successful Beer Remedies

January 27, 2016

Source: Law 360

By Andre P. Barlow


In an indirect way, today's craft beer renaissance in the United States was made possible by prohibition. The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, normally referred to as prohibition, was in part a reaction to the system of "tied houses" that dominated the alcohol retail market. Brewers at the time exerted tremendous exclusive control over retailers and used that control to pressure sales without concern for the safety of customers or the general public. When prohibition was repealed, the states were tasked with putting in place systems that would prevent a repeat of this harmful state of affairs. The answer was simple: They created a three-tiered system where independent distributors stand between brewers and independent retailers.


The three-tiered system was put in place to prevent brewers from having too much control over what consumers purchase. Truly independent distributors and retailers want to sell beer driven by consumer demand, and do not want to be beholden to one or two powerful brewers. Consumers can seek out whatever beer tastes the best, and retailers can get a diverse array of brands from their independent distributor.

Binny's unveils one-hour alcohol delivery service

January 27, 2016

Source: The Spirits Business

By Melita Kiely


Binny's Beverage Depot has teamed up with retail delivery firm Instacart to offer Chicago consumers a one-hour alcohol delivery service.


The new service is already active and offers same-day delivery of beers, wines and spirits to consumers of legal drinking age.


"We may be the biggest in Chicago, but we take pride on being locally and family owned," said Binny's owner, Michael Binstein.


"My father's delivery in 1948 was on foot. Then we hired bicyclists and eventually trucks.


"This is the next step in almost 70 years of evolution of putting the customer first."


When placing orders, customers must enter their date of birth at checkout to ensure they are over the legal US drinking age of 21, and a person of at least 21-years-old must be present to sign for the delivery and show valid photo ID.

9th Circ. Could Allow Retailers To Advertise Alcohol

January 25, 2016

Source: Law360

By James M Seff and Carrie L Bonnington


In a decision released on Jan. 7, 2016, Retail Digital Network LLC v. Jacob Appelsmith,[1] the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned 29-year-old precedent set in Actmedia Inc. v. Stroh,[2] which held that those portions of California Business and Professions Code Section 25503 that prohibit alcoholic beverage suppliers and wholesalers from paying for the privilege of advertising at a retail establishment did not violate the First Amendment.


In a decision with a potentially far-reaching impact, the court in Retail Digital Network applied recent U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence to overturn 29-year-old precedent and require heightened scrutiny to a California trade practice statute prohibiting alcohol beverage suppliers and wholesalers from, directly or indirectly, giving anything of value to retailers for advertising their products.

Breakthru Beverage Group Announces Sales and Commercial Leadership Team

January 25, 2016

Source: Breakthru Beverage Group


Breakthru Beverage Group is pleased to announce the key members of its leadership team who will oversee the company's sales and commercial efforts. This team brings experience and market-based successes from legacy Charmer Sunbelt and Wirtz Beverage operations. All will report directly to CEO Greg Baird and will drive an integrated approach to sales and commercial strategy across the US.


"Each of these leaders was selected for their insights and experiences, and we are excited to have a great mix of perspectives at the helm," said Greg Baird, CEO, Breakthru Beverage Group. "Breakthru represents some of the best brands in the country, and this team is poised to drive our business forward by delivering for existing partners and capitalizing on new found opportunities."

Traffic stop yields illegal transportation of alcohol

January 22, 2016

Source: Delaware Online

By Esteban Parra


A 54-year-old New York man was charged with illegally transporting alcohol without a license after police found 124 cases of alcohol in the van he was driving, state officials said Friday.


Darrow Wu, of Bayside, New York, was driving a 2014 Ford E-350 XLT Super Duty passenger van when he was stopped Tuesday by a state trooper for a traffic violation on Naamans Road near I-95 in Claymont, said Lt. James A. Diana, a spokesman for the state Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement.


When the trooper looked inside the van, the officer discovered a large amount of alcoholic beverages in the vehicle. The passenger compartment was filled with 124 cases of various brands of liquor valued at approximately $19,500, Diana said.

Oregon lawmakers consider liquor tax ahead of Nov. ballot

January 24, 2016

Source: The Seattle Times

By Kristena Hansen


Oregonians have many options for places to buy wine and beer. Hard alcohol, however, requires a separate trip to one of the limited state-owned liquor stores. But that could change if voters pass a ballot measure proposed for November that would allow hard alcohol to sit alongside beer and wine on grocery-store shelves.


It's certainly not the first attempt to privatize Oregon's liquor industry, nor have stakeholders on either side of the issue necessarily changed their opinions, but the approach this time around is different.




Oregon's monopoly over the liquor industry dates back to Prohibition days, and it was a model most other states had also adopted at that time. Many states have since decided the business of buying and selling liquor is better off left to the free market, leaving Oregon in the minority pool of about 18 states that still control of distribution and sales.

Bodegas get their beer at Costco and beer distributors pop their tops

January 19, 2016

Source: Crain's

By Rosa Goldensohn


Local beer distributors are whipped into a froth over warehouse-style stores they say are stealing their bodega business.


Jumbo-sized discount stores like BJ's and Costco are not allowed to sell beer to other retailers for resale under state law. But bodega owners often pick up suds at the stores because they can be cheaper than distributors.


The State Liquor Authority is aware of the issue, and in fact worked out agreements last May requiring them to hang "not for resale" signs at their beer displays. In exchange, previous cases against the stores were dropped.


The distributors, who were in the dark about the deal until recently obtaining them through a records request, are incensed. They say they are already squeezed by rules that favor huge wholesalers and need tougher enforcement on the grocery clubs.

Colorado beer ballot fight won't include liquor sales

January 18, 2016

Source: The Denver Post

By John Frank


The coalition behind the push to rewrite Colorado's alcohol laws says it will not seek to expand liquor sales as part of the 2016 ballot campaign.


Your Choice Colorado, the organization pursing sales of full-strength beer and wine in convenience stores and supermarkets, will not author any measure tied to liquor sales, a spokesman told The Denver Post.


 "Having spoken with Coloradans around the state, Your Choice Colorado will only seek to allow the sale of full-strength beer and wine in neighborhood markets when we go to the ballot in November," said the group's Matt Chandler.

Bacardi seething after Havana Club ruling

January 18, 2019

Source: The Drinks Business

By Neal Baker


The US government has been accused by Bacardi of turning its back on its own laws following a ruling that granted the Havana Club trademark to Pernod Ricard.


In a damning statement, Bacardi said that the decision by the US authorities to give Pernod Ricard the right to sell Cuban-made Havana Club rum in the States amounted to "confiscation without compensation".


Sources claim that the ruling could cost Bacardi around 4,000,000 case sales per year.


In 1994 Bacardi purchased the rights to sell Havana Club in the US from the brand's founding family, who had fled Cuba in the 1960s after the brand was seized by their country's government.

Monarch's bitter fight to sell hard liquor

January 17, 2016

Source: Indy Star

By Jeff Swiatek


Monarch Beverage has spent millions of dollars over the past eight years trying to join one of the state's most elite corporate clubs: the handful of companies with state permits to distribute hard liquor.


So far, Monarch's come up dry.


The company has been shipping beer since 1947 and wine since 1971, but Monarch's millions haven't earned it the right to move a single flask of hard stuff.


Monarch's efforts to win a hard liquor permit in the face of repeated rejection amount to one of the great failed corporate quests in Indiana.


The Indianapolis distributor has lobbied the legislature since 2007 to drop the state's longtime ban on letting beer distributors also sell hard liquor. This session, Monarch will try yet again to change the law.

Bill would allow Arizona wine orders by phone, online

January 15, 2016

Source: The Arizona Republic

By Richard Ruelas


The Napa Valley-based advocacy group Free the Grapes has readied legislation it expects to be introduced in the Arizona Legislature next week that would let customers order wines by telephone or online, provided they order no more than 216 bottles of wine annually from each winery.


The proposed bill, released Friday to The Arizona Republic and azcentral, would allow Arizonans of legal drinking age to have the equivalent of 18 cases of wine shipped directly to their homes or businesses. The bill requires that wineries verify the age of the customer, which, as a practical matter, is done by delivery personnel when the wine is received.


Current Arizona law discriminates among wineries based on their size. Most wineries can only ship a maximum of two cases of wine directly to a customer annually. That wine must be ordered and paid for while a customer is physically present at the winery. Smaller wineries, including all of those in-state, may take orders for wine by phone or online, with no cap on the amount shipped.


Under the proposed law, wineries wanting to ship to Arizonans would have to obtain a direct-shipping license.The cost of that license is not spelled out in the proposed legislation.

IRC Amendments Affecting Excise Tax Due Dates and Bond Requirements for Eligible Taxpayers and Revision of Hard Cider Tax Definition

January 15, 2016

Source: TTB


On December 18, 2015, the President signed into law the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 ("the PATH Act"), which is Division Q of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113).  The PATH Act contains changes to certain statutory provisions that TTB administers in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (IRC) regarding excise tax due dates, bond requirements, and the definition of wine eligible for the hard cider tax rate (see 26 U.S.C. 5061, 5551, and 5041, respectively).


Please note that these amendments do not take effect until 2017.


  • Section 332 of the PATH Act changes the excise tax due dates and eliminates bond requirements for certain eligible taxpayers.

  • Merger creates super-distributor

    January 14, 2016

    Source: Napa Valley Register

    By Paul Franson


    A merger involving the largest and fourth largest wine and spirits distributors in America could make things easier for big wine companies but even tougher for small wineries and those trying to break into the market.


    The Federal Trade Commission last week announced that it had no objections to the merger.


    According to Shanken Communications, Southern Wine & Spirits, the industry’s largest distributor with $11.8 billion in sales last year, and Glazer’s Inc. with $3.7 billion, according to Impact Newsletter, merged this week to create a wholesale network serving 41 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C., Canada and the Caribbean.

    Idaho: Lawmakers consider prohibition on powdered alcohol

    January 13, 2016

    Source: KIVI

    By Jacob Melder


    The first bill introduced in the 2016 Idaho Legislature would prohibit the possession, sale and consumption of powdered alcohol.


    The measure was introduced at the House State affairs committee by the State Liquor Division. Director Jeff Anderson said the use of powdered alcohol brings concerns of underage consumption and substance abuse.


    "Everybody knows there are issues with the societal costs from the misuse of beverage alcohol," said Anderson. "Adding another component that could lead to concealability on the part of minors or irresponsible adults of legal drinking age bringing them into sports venues or other places where alcohol is prohibited, it just doesn't seem like we need to go there right now."

    Lawmakers to consider loosening alcohol restrictions

    January 12, 2016

    Source: The Anniston Star

    By Tim Lockette


    Alabama brewpubs and wineries would see some of the state's restrictions on their operations loosened under a trio of bills headed for the Legislature.


    State law bans off-premises sales of alcohol by brewpubs - where beer is both brewed and served -  and wineries. But a legislative study group Tuesday voted in favor of a plan to allow some off-site wine-tastings and beer sales to brewpub customers who want to take some beer home.


    The Legislature's Alcoholic Beverage Study Committee also voted to support a plan to allow brewpubs at more sites. State law now allows brewpubs only in areas where a brewery was operated in the past; the committee voted to support elimination of that rule.


    January 11, 2016

    Source: Business Wire


    Bacardi, the world's largest privately held spirits company, today announces it will move to a regional distributor network in North America across Open and Control markets, supported by select distributors in Franchise and other limited markets. Bacardi names Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. and Glazer's, Inc., which have signed a definitive agreement to form Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits LLC, to lead the distribution of its wine and spirits portfolio in more than 40 markets across the United States and Canada.


    "This decision will enable us to expand our footprint with a single regional partner for the Open, Control and Canadian markets, generate incremental revenue and ultimately place Bacardi in a position to succeed for years to come," says Pete Carr, regional president for Bacardi in North America. "This is all about creating the best total value for Bacardi and reigniting top-line growth for our critical North America business in the most effective manner."


    The combination of the region's first and fourth largest spirits and wine wholesalers creates a distribution force of unmatched capabilities, scope and dedication.


    January 11, 2016

    Source: PR Newswire


    Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. ("Southern") and Glazer's, Inc. ("Glazer's"), two of the country's leading wine and spirits distributors, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement that will create the largest North American wine and spirits distribution company, serving supplier and customer partners from coast to coast.


    The new company, Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits, LLC ("Southern Glazer's"), will distribute more than 150 million cases of wine and spirits annually, cover nearly 90% of the legal drinking age (LDA) population in the U.S., employ more than 20,000 team members, and have operations in 41 states plus the District of Columbia, the Caribbean, and Canada. The company will be headquartered in Miami, with significant ongoing operations, systems, executives, and team members to be based in Dallas.

    G&M buys Dixon distributor

    January 8, 2016

    Source: The Register-Mail

    By Marty Hobe


    Local beer and beverage wholesaler G&M Distributors announced the acquisition of Dixon-based LRB Distributors Thursday, expanding its reach north of Galesburg.


    G&M President Adam Vitale said the acquisition provides "a solid platform for growth" for the distributing company, gaining more volume and manpower.


     "It gives us a solid platform for growth and positions us for future growth," Vitale said.


    LRB is an Anheuser-Busch InBev wholesaler, so the acquisition positions G&M for better market share in Illinois with the beer behemoth. Vitale estimated the purchase will more than double G&M's Anheuser-Busch business.

    Breakthru Beverage Group Launches

    January 4, 2016

    Source: Breakthru Beverage Group


    Breakthru Beverage Group, the innovative beverage wholesaler formed by Charmer Sunbelt and Wirtz Beverage, was established on January 1 and launches today in markets across the country.  The operations of the company and its affiliates will span 19 markets, and the company will represent a portfolio of premier wine, spirits and beer brands totaling more than $6 billion in annual sales. 


    "Breakthru Beverage is built upon the best of our legacy operations while setting a new path and approach forward," explained Greg Baird, Breakthru Beverage President & CEO.  "Our vision for the future is focused on excellence and how we can be a stronger and more innovative partner for our suppliers and customers in all of our markets."

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