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Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

Category archives for “Shipping”

TTB Says Alcohol Content Can Move to the Back Label for Wine

June 10th, 2013

Announced today, and effective August 9, 2013, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (the TTB) has announced changes to its labeling requirements for wine. Amending 27 CFR 4.32, the alcohol content for wine no longer must appear on the brand label, and instead it may be printed on the brand label or on other labels affixed to the bottle, including the back label. The TTB also amended 27 CFR 4.36 to the effect that wines with alcohol content of at least 7 percent and no more than 14 percent may still be labeled with either (a) the designation of “light wine” or “table wine” on the brand label, or (b) the numerical alcohol content of the wine. The new amendments do not permit the “light wine” or “table wine” designations to appear on any label other than the brand label. A new COLA is not required if the only change made to an approved label is the relocation of the alcohol content statement.  If you have any questions about labeling, contact an attorney at Strike & Techel.

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2013 · All Rights Reserved ·

Bill Passes Senate Allowing USPS to Ship Beer, Wine, and Spirits

May 24th, 2012

As the U.S. government looks for ways to save the U.S. Postal Service, a recent bill passed the senate that includes provisions allowing the USPS to ship wine, beer, and spirits.  Private carriers have been shipping wine for decades, but the USPS has been banned from doing so for over one hundred years.  18 U.S.C. § 1716(f), the 1909 law that prohibits the USPS from shipping “all spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented or other intoxicating liquors of any kind” remains on the books.  That law pre-dates prohibition by ten years, and has never been repealed.  That would change if Senate Bill 1789 becomes law.  The bill was passed in the senate on April 25, 2012, and Section 405 provides that wine, beer, and distilled spirits are considered “mailable” by the USPS as long as a) it is consistent with the laws of the states where the shipment is initiated and where delivery is to be made, b) the addressee is at least 21 years of age, and c) the addressee provides a signature and a valid government-issued photo identification upon delivery.

In order to become law, Senate Bill 1789 still needs to pass through the House of Representatives.  The bill was designed to address the moratorium on post office closures that expired on May 15, 2012, which had already been delayed from an original deadline of last December.  Since no law was passed by the May 15 deadline, the USPS is moving forward with a modified plan for post office closures.  48 post offices are currently scheduled to close in August, 2012, 92 in 2013, and another 89 in 2014.  The impending August closures put pressure on the House to pass a bill as soon as possible if they are going to save those post offices.  We’ll keep you posted on their progress and whether permitting the USPS to ship alcohol remains a part of the proposed legislation.

New Jersey Moves One Step Closer to Direct Wine Shipping

January 11th, 2012

Late Monday night, on the last day of New Jersey’s legislative session, the state Assembly voted 51-18-4 in favor of Bill A-4336, New Jersey’s wine direct shipping bill.  The companion bill, S-3172, passed the New Jersey Senate last month, and now only the governor’s approval stands in the way of New Jersey becoming the 39th state to allow some form of direct shipping.  Under the bill, New Jersey Farm Wineries, New Jersey Plenary Wineries that produce 250,000 gallons or less of wine a year, and out-of-state wineries that produce 250,000 gallons of wine or less each year and that obtain an out-of-state shipping license will be able to ship up to 12 cases of wine per year to any New Jersey consumer.  If the bill is signed by New Jersey Governor Christie as expected, the law will go into effect in May, 2012.  To see our earlier posts on this topic, check here and here.

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved ·

UPDATE: New Jersey Senate Passes Direct Shipping Bill

December 19th, 2011

Updating our post of late last week, the New Jersey Senate last Thursday voted 23 to 13 in favor of Bill S-3172, permitting wineries to ship directly to New Jersey consumers.  Now that it has passed the Senate, the New Jersey Assembly has to vote on the bill by January 9, 2012, the last day of the legislative session.  Under the bill, New Jersey Farm Wineries, New Jersey Plenary Wineries that produce 250,000 gallons or less of wine a year, and out-of-state wineries that produce 250,000 gallons of wine or less each year and that obtain an out-of-state shipping license would be able to ship up to 12 cases of wine per year to any New Jersey consumer.  If passed, New Jersey would become the 39th state to allow direct shipping.  Check back in early 2012 for an update!

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2011 · All Rights Reserved ·

New Jersey to Vote on Winery Direct Shipping

December 14th, 2011

The New Jersey Senate will vote on a direct shipping bill this Thursday, December 15, 2011, called S-3172 in its current form.  If passed into law, New Jersey Farm Wineries, New Jersey Plenary Wineries that produce 250,000 gallons or less of wine a year, and out-of-state wineries that produce 250,000 gallons of wine or less each year and that obtain an out-of-state shipping license would be able to ship up to 12 cases of wine per year to any New Jersey consumer.   With passage of the bill, New Jersey would join the 38 states that currently allow direct wine shipping to consumers in some form, including Maryland and New Mexico as of earlier this year.  However, the “capacity cap” for out-of-state wineries of 250,000 gallons per year remains a point of contention, as that limit would preclude the majority of California wineries from shipping to New Jersey consumers.  Stay tuned to find out how the New Jersey Senate votes!

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2011 · All Rights Reserved ·

New Limited Off-Sale Retail Wine Licenses in California

October 19th, 2011

Beginning January 1, 2012, a new license will be available for direct-to-consumer wine sales. The new license is the result of approval of Assembly Bill No. 623, which revises California’s Business and Professions code to add Section 23393.5 authorizing the license. Sales may only be made to consumers. All sales must occur through direct mail, telephone or Internet; they may not be conducted from a location that is open to the public. The licensee must take possession and title to all wine sold. All wine must be delivered to the consumer from the licensee’s premises or a licensed public warehouse. The application and annual fee are the same as those applicable to a Type 20 off-sale beer and wine license. The key differences between the new limited off-sale retail license and a type 20 license are that the type 20 requires a brick and mortar store that is open to the public and a type 20 license also allows the sale of beer for consumption away from the licensed premises. If you would like more information about the license, please feel free to contact any of the attorneys at Strike & Techel.

California’s New Online Sales Tax Law Could Impact California Wine Purchases

July 1st, 2011

Earlier this week, California legislators passed a law that requires large internet retailers to collect sales tax for orders placed from California customers.  Most of the publicity surrounding the bill has been on large internet retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com, which have strongly opposed the law, and are now beginning the process of limiting their presence in California in order to avoid needing to charge sales tax on California purchases.  However, the law is not limited to these major retailers, as it stands to affect consumers who order alcohol online as well as out-of-state alcohol retailers who do substantial business in the state.

Two primary factors will most impact whether an alcohol retailer and its consumers will be affected by the new law.  First, the law is aimed at large retailers, and only applies only to businesses that have sales within California in excess of $500,000 over the previous 12 months.  This likely means that orders from small wineries would remain untaxed, while large internet retailers will probably need to start charging sales tax to California consumers.

Second, the law applies only to retailers that have a “substantial nexus” in California.  The precise meaning of this term has already been the source of considerable confusion, and large retailers like Amazon.com have begun breaking ties with California-based affiliates and entities that provide “click-throughs” to their site, so that they are not affected by the law.  How this provision affects out-of-state alcohol retailers remains unclear.  Retailers that are definitely subject to the law are those with a place of business in California, including an office, place of distribution, sales room, or warehouse.  Also, retailers with representatives or salespeople in California will be subject to the law.  What remains unknown is whether retailers without any such contacts will be required to collect sales tax on shipments into the state.  Stay tuned.

California’s new law went into effect on July 1, 2011, and is codified at Cal. Rev. & Tax Code § 6203.

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2010-2011 · All Rights Reserved ·

TABC Steps Up Enforcement Against Direct to Consumer Wine Shipments by Retailers

June 7th, 2011

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) issued a press release on Friday, June 3rd advising that it has entered into agreements with FedEx and UPS to halt the shipment of wine by out of state retailers to Texas consumers.

The direct shipping situation in Texas has been in a state of flux for years following the seminal Granholm v. Heald decision, which opened up many states to direct shipment of wine by wineries in 2005. Following Granholm, plaintiffs in a number of states have filed lawsuits to determine the scope of the court’s ruling, particularly whether it applied to retailers or only wineries.

Lawsuits filed in Texas alleged that Texas laws preventing direct to consumer sales by out of state retailers violated the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution because retailers within Texas were permitted to make such shipments. The cases were decided last year on appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Texas was not required to allow out of state retailers to ship wine to Texas consumers, but could continue to permit in-state retailers to do so.

Following the Court of Appeals’ ruling, the TABC began notifying retailers that shipments to consumers in Texas were not legal. More recently, the TABC has provided FedEx and UPS with the names of out of state retailers who have recently shipped wine to Texas consumers (TABC has not said how it came to identify such retailers.) FedEx and UPS in turn have agreed to notify the listed retailers that such shipments violate the retailers’ shipping agreements with the companies and may lead the shippers to refuse to ship packages for the involved retailers. For its part, TABC says it will contact the retailers directly and may also contact the alcoholic beverage control agencies in the retailers’ home states in cases where the retailers fail to comply with the TABC’s requests.

Imbiblog is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Copyright © 2010-2011 · All Rights Reserved ·