Alaska is one of only a few states where direct shipping to consumer (DTC) is permitted without a license. A legislative bill was passed last year that includes new requirements for DTC starting January 1, 2024.
Legislative & Regulatory
News relating to the state and federal politics of beer and regulatory structure
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has accepted an “offer in compromise” from five alcohol beverage industry companies in the last few months for alleged tax violations. The amount of the compromise in these five cases ranged from $57,000 to $1.17 million.
Complaints about beer labels from Welsh brewer Tiny Rebel were upheld by the alcohol industry’s Independent Complaints Panel (ICP). Three of the brewery’s beers, Monstar, TinyFast and Primed were ruled to appeal to under-age drinkers or encouraging irresponsible consumption and suggesting the products had therapeutic qualities.
After attempts to negotiate a deal with Ohio beer wholesalers, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association has introduced legislation to reform strict franchise laws in the state. The bill would exempt beer manufacturers that produce less than 250,000 barrels of beer a year from the Ohio Alcohol Franchise Law.
With Congress back in business after the summer recess, they now have until Sept. 30th to pass the 2024 fiscal year budget. Although Congress could enact a short-term budget to keep the government open until negotiations are complete, it is not a certainty, and brewers should prepare for a possible shutdown of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) non-essential services such as label approvals, formula approvals and brewers’ notices.
Connecticut has reduced the excise tax on beer by 16.7%. The lower tax took effect on July 1. The tax cut is the result of the biennial state budget that Governor Lamont and the state legislature approved in 2021.
Wisconsin legislators in the Assembly passed a sweeping bill that will overhaul the three-tier system in the state and give craft brewers additional privileges. The bipartisan bill passed the Assembly 90-4 and heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass.
The Beer Institute has launched a new consumer-facing website StandWithBeer.org, which sheds a light on “how large liquor companies inflate their bottom line by exploiting loopholes in our tax code.” It is a unique push by an alcohol industry trade group to inform the consumer of legislative “advantages” afforded to another industry segment.
Illinois’ bars and restaurants can continue to sell to-go cocktails until 2024 after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into a law a three-year extension of the measure that was adopted during COVID-19. It is yet another pandemic-era allowance that has been extended or made permanent across the country, changing forever the landscape for how the alcohol business can respond to changing consumer habits induced by the pandemic.
The New Zealand government has implemented the largest tax increase on alcohol in 30 years, an increase of 6.65% following a 6.92 % hike in 2022.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has added a new malt beverage labeling section to their TTB.gov website to make it easier for brewers to navigate the complicated labeling process.
Proposals to add additional warnings and health information on alcoholic beverages has long been discussed by policymakers in the US and other countries, but no action has ever been taken. Ireland has now just become the first country in the world to require all alcohol labels to list calorie content and health risk information for consumers.
The state of Oregon and the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission has quickly settled a lawsuit brought by Washington breweries. The settlement will allow out-of-state breweries to self-distribute and ship beer directly to consumers in Oregon, a big win for adjoining Washington craft brewers.
A bill in the Washington state legislature to lower the intoxicated driving threshold from the federal standard of 0.08 to 0.05 has failed to meet a critical committee hearing deadline meaning the bill will not be able to move forward this session.
In the state of Nevada, where beer wholesalers have deep political connections, self-distribution for small brewers has always been a non-starter. But craft breweries in the state are making a push for a small step forward in a bill that would allow craft breweries to move beer that is brewed at one location to their own off-site taprooms or tasting rooms without having to first sell it to a distributor.
The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild has filed legislation seeking to legalize direct-to-customer shipping for craft breweries while in New Mexico similar legislation has also been introduced in the state legislature.
Texas lawmakers have proposed legislation to allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping for breweries in the state in the latest effort by craft brewers to seek parity with wineries, which are allowed DTC in most states across the country.
A bill in California supported by the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUSS) would allow retailers with a beer and wine license to also sell spirit-based RTD’s, a move which would further blur the line that has traditionally existed between spirits and beer and wine.
In a trend that may be picking up momentum across the country, Washington state legislators are considering a bill that would lower the blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05.
Makers of RTD’s have been increasingly active in lobbying state legislators to lower taxes on the ready to drink cocktails. Their argument is that lower taxes will benefit the consumer by lowering the retail price.
But a recent analysis by Public Sector Consultants shows that in two states where the RTD tax was lowered, retail prices increased.