ABC Enforcement - Trends and Predictions

What wineries should know about beverage law, rules and investigations

By: John Hinman, Rebecca Stamey-White and Jeremy Siegel

As long time supporters of Wine Business Monthly, we are always more than happy to contribute when given the opportunity.  Wine Business Monthly is the wine industry’s leading publication for wineries and vineyards, and they asked us to provide their readers with an overview of the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control’s current enforcement trends, and what we see in the near future. 

The article, which can be found in the April issue of the magazine, touches on some of the bigger cases we have defended over the past few years, the lessons learned from these cases, and areas where we have been able to effectively negotiate with the ABC to not only avoid costly hearings for our clients but to further their marketing and sales agendas through legally compliant programs.  These areas include social media marketing and advertising, indirect ownership and other interests between retailers and suppliers, as well as the important details and restrictions that flow from events such as winemaker’s dinners.  Looking forward toward this year’s ABC enforcement priorities, we also commented on a recent uptick in ABC enforcement with regards to credit laws, we touched on the growing prominence of unlicensed third parties in the wine space and we noted that the ABC’s trade enforcement unit is enlarging and becoming more active.  You may never know when that knowledgeable new consumer at your event is really an ABC Agent testing compliance. 

We hope that this article highlights the value of understanding the laws and policies that govern activities in our highly regulated space, as well as the value of consulting effective and experienced alcohol counsel when in doubt.  Grappling with the alcohol laws is not for the faint of heart, but with strong compliance programs, direct confrontations with the ABC (in California and throughout the US) should be few and far between. 

  1. CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE HAD ONE TOO MANY - THE FREE TRANSPORTATION DILEMMA
  2. The Renaissance of Federal Unfair Trade Practices - Current Issues and Strategies
  3. ‘Twas the week before New Year’s and the ABC is out in Force – Alerts for the Last Week of 2017, including the Limits on Free Rides
  4. Big Bottles, Caviar and a CA Wine Strong Silent Auction for the Holidays!
  5. The FDA and the Wine and Spirits Industry – Surprise inspections anyone?
  6. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: UPDATED REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  7. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  8. Soon to come to your Local Supermarket– Instant Redeemable Coupons of the digital age!
  9. The License Piggyback Dilemma – If it Sounds Too Good to be True, it Probably is
  10. A timely message from our Florida colleagues on the tied house laws, the three-tier system and the need for reform
  11. ABC Declaratory Rulings – A Modest Proposal Whose Time has Come
  12. More on FDA Inspections - Breweries, Distilleries and Questions
  13. WHY THE FDA IS INSPECTING WINERIES
  14. Senate Bill 378—The Proposed Demise of Due Process for Alcohol Licensees
  15. ABC Enforcement - Trends and Predictions
  16. The Corruption Chronicles – Volume One: A New Hope
  17. New Alcohol Delivery Oversight on the Horizon
  18. Michigan: Canary in the DtC Coal Mine?
  19. California ABC and Federal Credit Laws – Active Enforcement and Lots of Questions!
  20. Big Bottles For The Holidays - The Highest Calling Of The Winemaker's Art
  21. FINAL COMMENTS TO TTB NOTICE 160 DUE ON WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 7TH – WE ARE ASKING THE TTB TO EXTEND THE COMMENT PERIOD AGAIN TO ALLOW FOR INDUSTRY NEGOTIATION AND ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS
  22. SONOMA COUNTY WINERY USE PERMITS, EVENT RESTICTIONS AND DTC
  23. New TTB Labeling Requirement Regulations: Out-of-State Bottling Is Not Created Equal and Consumers Right to Know Where the Grapes in their Wine Come from is Compromised
  24. Isn't A Written Agreement With A Distributor Worthless In A Franchise State?
  25. Crowd Funding for Alcohol Producers and Retailers – Down the Rabbit Hole with the Tied House laws
  26. Everything you ever wanted to know about the BPA Warning Statement but were afraid to ask
  27. AB 2082 - A Hunting License for Police and a Lethal Weapon for Politicians that Deprives Licensees of Currently Available Due Process Rights
  28. “Better Late Than Never”-- Judge in Illinois Dismisses 201 Sales Tax Cases against Retailers
  29. The Day the Music Almost Died: The Story of the BottleRock ABC Accusations, the ABC Appeals Board and a Victory for a Common Sense Interpretation of the Tied House Laws
  30. The Arsenic in Wine Class Action Dismissal – what it means
  31. Counterfeit or Artisanal Mexican Spirits? Pick your Poison, or your lime wedge
  32. Warning - CA ABC enforcement teams are on the prowl this weekend!
  33. RELIEF AT LAST! ILLINOIS MOVES TO FIX THE SALES TAX LAWSUITS AGAINST OUT-OF-STATE SELLERS BUT PROPOSES TO PENALIZE WINERIES AND RETAILERS THAT SHIP WITHOUT PERMITS
  34. The TTB Speaks on Category Management or, be Careful What you Ask for Because you might Get it!
  35. Hinman & Carmichael LLP Announces the Addition of Jeremy Siegel to its team of top beverage law lawyers
  36. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part IV
  37. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part III
  38. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part II
  39. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part I
  40. Hinman & Carmichael LLP is Hiring!
  41. John Hinman Presents NBI Webinar on Basics of Alcohol Beverage Law
  42. ABC DISMISSES SAVE MART GRAPE ESCAPE ACCUSATION BUT REFUSES TO ADOPT JUDGE’S DECISION FINDING NO STRICT LIABILITY FOR ABC VIOLATIONS
  43. Speakeasies are still with us, and proliferating!
  44. The War for the Soul of Sonoma County – the Winery Working Group Battle
  45. Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town this Christmas!
  46. Arizona's Direct to Consumer Shipping Rules - An Exercise in Complexity
  47. AB 780 - Social Media and the ABC: The California Legislative “Fix” that Fails
  48. Illinois Finally Offers Certainty and Relief for Victims of Sales Tax Lawsuits, but Prompt Action is Required in Pending Cases
  49. A Modest Proposal – Adopt the federal rule on Tied-House liability in California
  50. The Grapes Escaped - Why the First Amendment Matters
  51. Appellate Court Ruling Strikes Blow Against State’s Arbitrary Beer Label Ban
  52. Illinois Attorney General's Office Announces Intention to Dismiss False Claims Act Against Liquor Retailers
  53. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part III
  54. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part II
  55. Craft Beverages: Social Media Marketing the Effective and Compliant Way
  56. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part I
  57. A LAYPERSON LOOKS AT ARSENIC IN WINE
  58. The Biggest Retailer in the World vs. the TABC
  59. Rebecca Stamey-White presents Emerging Issues in Wine Law
  60. Top Beverage Alcohol Law Firm Adds and Elevates Partners
  61. Illinois Qui Tam Lawsuits—Private Enforcement Of a State Claim: A Bonanza For A Plaintiff’s Lawyer And A Rip-Off Of Retailers
  62. BOOZE RULES OF SOCIAL MEDIA: The Retailer Right to Pay Exception
  63. LIONS AND TIGERS AND TWEETS, OH MY!
  64. AB 2004: Brewer's Incremental Parity with Wine Makers
  65. Expanding, Proud Of It, and Wanting to Tell the World
  66. DC Weighs in Strongly on Third Party Marketer Delivery Services
  67. “Visual Links” between Beer, Wine and Spirits Labels and Retailers Ruled Unlawful in California — the tied house laws run amok
  68. Hard Cider Legislative Update
  69. New Marketing Model for New York – Lot 18 and the NYSLA
  70. Sweeping Changes in Proposed NYSLA Bill Include Expansion for Craft
  71. Minimum Resale Price Policies - How to Control Price-Cutters
  72. AB 2130 – Gloves Off?
  73. “Gluten-Free” Labels for Wine, Beer and Distilled Spirits. We’re Still Waiting.
  74. AB 1252: Sanitation Overkill?
  75. Growlers: Not Just for Beer Anymore
  76. California Legislative Roundup 2014
  77. Build It and They Will Come: Craft Products Get New Privileges in CA and TX
  78. AB 1128: Veto of the “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale
  79. California Grocers Association v. ABC, Part 2: California Appeals Court Vacates ABC’s Adoption of a Trade Advisory That Correctly Guided Licensee Conduct
  80. California Grocers Association v. ABC, Part 1: California Appeals Court Prohibits Alcohol Sales at Self-Check Out Stands
  81. AB 1128: The “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale
  82. The New York SLA and Online Wine Sales: A Work in Progress
  83. California SB 635: What the 4am Bill Really Means for California Communities
  84. Electronic Invoices in California: Welcome to the 19th Century
  85. The History of Amazon and Wine: What Has Changed?
  86. Third Party Marketing Checklist
  87. BOOZE RULES – PROMOTIONAL APPEARANCES AND AUTOGRAPHS
  88. Washington State: Down the Rabbit Hole of the Tied-House Laws