Posts Tagged ‘California’

Growlers: Not Just for Beer Anymore

by Sara Mann 01.21.14


In the past few years, wine packaging and dispensing in the U.S. has taken on new forms, going beyond the now-ubiquitous screw caps on bottles.  These include the various permutations of wine “in a box,” Tetra Paks, and single servings of sparkling and still wine in cans.  On-premise retailers are also increasingly offering wines on tap by the glass or carafe, which retain their freshness better than wines from open bottles. These new technologies offer a range of benefits, from environmental (reduction in the use of glass and the supplier’s carbon footprint) to economic (cheaper packaging and lighter, more efficient freight loads), to widening wine’s appeal to new consumers—particularly the younger set, who are more likely to welcome innovation and are less bound to tradition. Enter the concept of growlers for wine.  A “growler” is a container that most commonly is filled with beer from a tap at a brewery… Read more

Build It and They Will Come: Craft Products Get New Privileges in CA and TX

by Rebecca Stamey-White 12.01.13


Big news for craft producers in California and Texas, two of the biggest consumer markets in the United States: Texas craft brewers and distillers now have expanded retail sale and on-sale consumption privileges and California craft distillers have expanded tasting privileges as a result of newly enacted legislation.  But why does this matter?  Why is it important to give craft producers more control over the experience consumers enjoy on their premises? While now such an essential part of California culture, it is almost hard to remember that the big business of California wine country tourism is a relatively new phenomenon.  It was less than forty years ago in 1976 that the Judging of Paris famously put California wine on the global map and helped shape what is now the fourth largest wine-producing region in the world.  The demand for California wine in the 1970’s fueled rapid growth and the number… Read more

AB 1128: Veto of the “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale

by John Hinman 10.28.13


On May 20th we wrote a blog on the dangerous nature of AB 1128, which would have elevated the penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor from a misdemeanor to a felony.  This was one of the most pernicious anti-alcoholic beverage industry (and anti-parent) bills in the history of California. It snuck through the legislature because most folks simply didn’t want to be seen as encouraging in any way youth alcohol use; regardless of the circumstances or the context. We are pleased to report that Governor Brown vetoed the bill and sent the following message: BILL NUMBER:  AB 1128 VETOED       DATE: 10/12/2013 To the Members of the California State Assembly: I am returning Assembly Bill 1128 without my signature. This bill would allow a felony to be charged if a person knowingly provides alcohol to an underage drinker, whose alcohol consumption thereafter causes injury or death. The behavior targeted by… Read more

California Grocers Association v. ABC, Part 1: California Appeals Court Prohibits Alcohol Sales at Self-Check Out Stands

by Rebecca Stamey-White 10.14.13


Beginning October 18th, 2013, California law will prohibit grocery and liquor store customers from purchasing alcoholic beverages at self-checkout stands.  Retail stores with self-checkout stands that currently permit customers to purchase alcoholic beverages from these stands (even those that currently require employee face-to-face ID verification prior to purchase), will be required to send customers with alcohol to traditional checkout stands operated by cashiers. This is the result of a case decided on September 19th by the California District Court of Appeal (DCA), which ruled that sales of alcoholic beverages could not be made from any checkout stands operated by customers, even if the stands featured a lock on alcohol purchases until a clerk completed a face-to-face verification of identification and released the transaction with an employee code.  See Cal. Grocers Ass’n v. Dep’t of Alcoholic Beverage Control, C070375, 2013 WL 5278729 (Sept. 19, 2013). The case arose from the California… Read more

AB 1128: The “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale

by John Hinman 05.20.13


Welcome to your worst nightmare: You serve a customer at a winery tasting room (or at a party at a winery) who turns out to be younger than 21, and who later gets into an accident or commits a crime like assault where alcohol is a factor and you end up with a felony, which bars you from the wine industry for the foreseeable future. AB 1128 (currently on a fast track to pass through the California legislature) amends Business & Professions (“B&P”) Code Sec. 25658 and ups the potential penalty for sales to a minor (from a misdemeanor to a felony) when the minor causes an injury, death or damage to others. Civil damages for selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor who gets into an accident or causes harm is already part of the law and the potential consequences of a current incident include license revocation for a… Read more

The History of Amazon and Wine: What Has Changed?

by Sara Mann 10.23.12


Amazon is back in the wine business. During its first foray, in the Wild West dot com days of the late 1990’s when Amazon invested in WineShopper.com, the idea of Internet technology being used to sell and direct ship wine to consumers terrified alcohol regulators (and wholesalers) and ran into a wall of resistance. The dot com bust then finished off the WineShopper program. Shelving the plans for almost a decade, Amazon’s second foray into the wine marketing and direct shipping business was in 2009 with New Vine Logistics, one of the pioneers of warehousing, compliance and logistics services for wineries. That attempt failed because the CA ABC, having gotten wind of Amazon’s plans, released an Advisory in 2009 that gutted the crucial components of Amazon’s proposed program, including service fees “based upon a percentage of the sale of alcoholic beverages.” That bankrupted New Vine Logistics and set back the… Read more