Brewers Association

State Government Affairs Activities

If there is no entry for a state, this means that there are no new developments to report regarding legislation affecting small brewers.

ALABAMA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Companions S.B. 439 and H.B. 581 would allow an alcoholic beverage manufacturing licensee that manufactures in excess of 25,000 barrels of alcoholic beverages per year in Alabama to obtain an additional license to operate a restaurant on or adjacent to its licensed manufacturing premises and dispense alcoholic beverages that it manufactures or that are manufactured by others and to purchase from a licensed wholesaler alcoholic beverages manufactured by the licensee for retail sale for off-premises consumption. (March Update)

House Bill 355 would create a new license for brewpubs allowing the sale of beer for off premises consumption. (February Update)

Trade Practice & Other

House Bill 389 would allow a retail licensee or a state liquor store to conduct tastings of wine, beer, and distilled liquor. (February Update)

ALASKA

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

ARIZONA

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

ARKANSAS

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

CALIFORNIA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has issued an Industry Advisory addressing the ability to sell beer to consumers from the manufacturer's premise, clarifying that a beer manufacturer may only sell beer which is brewed under that license for both off-site and on-site consumption. Only if the beer manufacturer operates a bona fide eating establishment can other manufacturers' beer be sold for on-site consumption. (February Update)

Trade Practice & Other

A.B. 1928 seeks to prohibit a licensee authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail from accepting, redeeming, possessing, or utilizing any type of coupon that is funded, produced, sponsored, promoted, or furnished by a beer manufacturer or beer and wine wholesaler. (March Update)

Assembly Bill 2010 would extend certain return exceptions provided for beer that is recalled or presents a health and safety issue to beer that has product quality issues. (March Update)

Assembly Bill 2203 would expand the prohibition on the obliteration, mutilation, or marking out of a manufacturer's name on returnable beer containers or cartons made of wood or fiber board to metal kegs.(March Update)

COLORADO

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

CONNECTICUT

Taxation

In reaching its stated goal of promoting the craft brewing industry in Connecticut and craft brewing related tourism, Proposed House Bill 5122 seeks to reduce the alcoholic beverages excise tax for craft brewers. (March Update)

Senate Bill 49 creates a pilot program for exempting beer, wine and liquor from sales taxes during the winter holiday period. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

H.B. 5099 seeks to allow holders of caterer liquor permits to also be holders of manufacturer permits for brew pubs and manufacturer permits for beer and brew pubs. 

DELAWARE

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

FLORIDA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Passing committee, Senate Bill 406 authorize containers of malt beverages to be sold or offered for sale by a vendor at retail in any size, thereby allowing the sale of traditional 64 ounce growlers.  The bill also authorizes malt beverage tastings in a licensed premise. (March Update)

House Bill 1329 proposes a number of changes relating to growler sales: eliminates the 128 ounce growler; creates a specific, restrictive definition of a growler; prohibits breweries, including those with current vendor licenses, from selling any alcoholic beverages for off premises consumption with the exception of growlers filled only with beer made at that location (current law allows a brewery to sell beer to go in cans, bottles, growlers, etc., including wine and spirits if they have the proper vendor license); permits growler sales only at breweries or vendors with quota licenses (an added restriction of the current law which would prohibit specialty beer shops from selling growlers); requires breweries to fill growlers according to "food safety conditions as determined by a county or incorporated municipality." 

The bill would also prohibit a brewery from selling a collaboration beer and from operating a winery (currently permitted under state law).  Finally, the bill institutes a grandfather clause to permit breweries that are currently licensed as of July 1, 2014 to maintain their current license structure but prohibits them from obtaining any other vendor licenses after that date. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

Senate Bill 470 allows licensed distributors of malt beverages, or any vendor, to conduct malt beverage tastings in any licensed premises authorized to sell malt beverages by package or for consumption on premises. (February Update)

GEORGIA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Companions H.B. 314 and S.B. 174 provide for limited retail sales for off-premise consumption for both brewery and brewpub licenses. (February Update)

Trade Practice & Other

Passing committee, S.B. 335 provides that local governing authorities may authorize retail dealers and retail consumption dealers to conduct tasting events at which samples of malt beverages and wine may be served and removes the prohibition against brewpub licensees offering or permitting free sampling by customers. (March Update)

HAWAII

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Each passing their respective chambers, companions H.B. 2484 and S.B. 3042 remove the requirement that a class 14 brewpub licensee manufacture not more than thirty thousand barrels of malt beverages and create a new license (class 18) for a small craft producer pub (for beer defined as one producing not more than 60,000 barrels annually) and among other abilities, allow for the sale of growlers for off-premises consumption. (March Update)

Taxation

Originally seeking to establish a tax rate of 23 cents per wine gallon on draft beer and beer other than draft beer brewed or produced by a small brewery or brewpub (not more than 60,000 barrels annual production), Senate Bill 3041 has been amended to reflect an unspecified tax rate.  The bill has passed the Senate and is under House consideration. (March Update)

IDAHO

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Passing the House, H.B. 524 seeks to codify the independence between the manufacturing tier and the distribution tier by declaring that a brewery/manufacturer, with limited exceptions, cannot have a financial interest in a distributor and that a distributor cannot have a financial interest in a brewery. (March Update)

ILLINIOS

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Companions House Bill 5400 and Senate Bill 3284 amend provisions of the Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act relating to conditions under which a brewer would pay reasonable compensation to a wholesaler in a termination situation.   The bills reduces the time period that a wholesaler can retain a brand (from 2 years to 6 months) after the wholesaler rejects an offer to arbitrate and so triggering a good faith payment of reasonable compensation to the wholesaler, upon receipt of which the affected brand(s) must be surrendered to the brewer. (March Update)

Senate Bill 3179 amends the Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act to Provide that a brewer that cancels or terminates an agreement may not fail to fill an order for beer requested by the wholesaler until reasonable compensation is accepted by the affected wholesaler. (March Update)

INDIANA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Passing the Senate, S.B. 16 seeks to require that, for a brewery to qualify as a microbrewery, the entire brewing process of the beer must occur in Indiana.  The bill would further: allow a small brewer to sell the brewer's beer to consumers for carryout at a farmers' market that is operated on a nonprofit basis, in a quantity of not more than 576 ounces per consumer at any one time; allow a microbrewery, with the approval of the alcohol and tobacco commission, to participate in a trade show or an exposition for not more than 45 days in a calendar year; allow the holder of an artisan distiller's permit that also holds a microbrewery permit to hold a retailer permit for a restaurant; and makes an exception to a provision that prohibits the holder of an artisan distiller's, a distiller's, or a rectifier's permit to acquire an interest in a holder an Indiana permit to sell alcoholic beverages at retail. (February Update)

Senate Bill 415 seeks to regulate transactions and agreements between beer wholesalers and suppliers. It requires a beer wholesaler to have a bona fide distribution agreement with each of the beer wholesaler's suppliers.  It specifically addresses terminations by small brewers (defines as those producing not more than 30,000 barrels annually) with compensation amounts dictated by how long the brand has been in the wholesaler's portfolio.  The language further states that if any provision of the alcoholic beverage law is held invalid, the remaining provisions of the law must be construed in accordance with the intent of the legislature to further limit rather than to expand commerce in alcoholic beverages and to enhance strict regulatory control through the state alcohol commission and the three tier system of alcoholic beverage distribution. (February Update)

House Bill 1022 provides that a holder of an alcoholic beverage permit who is authorized to sell alcoholic beverages for carryout may sell alcoholic beverages for carryout on Sunday. (February Update)

Trade Practice & Other

House Bill 1068 provides that a supplier commits an unconscionable act that is treated the same as a deceptive act under the deceptive consumer sales law if the supplier refuses to sell to a retailer with which the supplier has done business within the previous two years a good that is a food or beverage product at the same price that the supplier sells the good to any other retailer. (February Update)

H.B. 1322 allows the holder of a microbrewery permit and a farm winery permit to operate the microbrewery and farm winery in all or part of the same building or part of a building; the holder of a microbrewers' permit to serve complimentary samples of beer in an outside area that is contiguous to the microbrewery; a microbrewery, a farm winery, or a premises that contains both, to provide an outside area contiguous to the premises, where consumers can consume beer or wine purchased by the glass on the premises; a microbrewery and a farm winery that occupy all or part of the same premises to offer complimentary samples of the microbrewery's beer and the farm winery's wine in one room of the building occupied by the microbrewery and the farm winery. (February Update)

IOWA

House Bill 2191 seeks to form a legislative interim study committee relating to alcoholic beverage control licensing and the regulation of breweries. (March Update)

KANSAS

Homebrewing

Existing Kansas law does not allow for homebrew to be served outside the home for events like homebrew club meetings and homebrew competitions.

The American Homebrewers Association is supporting an effort by a coalition of Kansas homebrew clubs to resolve this issue. Substitute for House Bill 2223 (added text is italicized, deleted text is struck through) was drafted to allow Kansas homebrewers to legally share homebrew at club meetings and enter homebrew competitions.

The Kansas House passed Substitute for HB 2223 by a margin of 111 to 7 on Monday, February 10. The bill now moves on to the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee. 

Please read the full alert for details.

Trade Practice & Other

As amended, Senate Bill 346 would raise from 15,000 to 30,000 barrels of domestic beer that may be produced in a calendar year by a Kansas microbrewery licensee.

Passing the House, H.B. 2223 would allow a homemade fermented beverage to be provided to guests and judges at a contest or competition so long as no compensation is provided to the maker for producing the beverage or allowing its consumption.

Among several provisions, House Bill 2556 would allow certain retailers would to conduct wine and beer tastings on the licensed premise.

KENTUCKY

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Clearing committee, House Bill 413 seeks to prohibit brewers or importers of malt beverages from requiring payment from distributors for the right to distribute their products in a designated territory. (March Update)

Kentucky Alcohol Sales Restrictions Ruling Reversed 

An appeal to overturn a 2012 U.S. District Court ruling that Kentucky's ban on grocery store, gas station and convenience store sales of wine and liquor was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, has been successful.  The 2012 ruling referenced the arbitrary nature of the restriction, given that drug stores are allowed to sell wine and liquor, as the rationale for striking it down.  The state on appeal, however, argued that the law did in fact have a rational basis in that it restricted access to high alcohol products, i.e. a legitimate state interest.  The U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the 6th Circuit agreed, concluding that "grocery store and gas stations pose a greater risk of exposing citizens to alcohol than do other retailers." (February Update)

LOUISIANA

House Bill 281 provides that manufacturer or brewer who operates a brewing facility located entirely in La. may sell only its products brewed at that facility to the public only at that facility for consumption on or off the premises but not for resale. The total amount of sales to the public for any month shall not exceed 10% of the total amount of product brewed at that facility for that month or 250 barrels, whichever is greater. (March Update)

MAINE

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

House Bill 517 directs the Director of the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations to adopt major substantive rules to define the term "brand" as it applies to the distribution of malt liquor and wine. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

House Bill 1265 would prohibit the use of images as well as phrases that may be considered as statements of high alcohol content but permits the advertisement of alcohol content with respect to malt liquor, wine and spirits as long as it is expressed as a percentage of alcohol by volume.  Current law prohibits a person licensed to manufacture, sell or distribute alcoholic beverages from publishing in any form an advertisement of malt liquor that refers in any manner to the alcohol content of the malt liquor manufactured, sold or distributed by that licensee, including through the use of phrases such as "full strength," "extra strength" or "prewar strength." The inclusion of the alcohol content on the product label is permitted.

MARYLAND

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Passing the House, House Bill 464 authorizes the holder of a Class 7 micro-brewery (on- and off-sale) license to sell at retail beer brewed under the license to customers for consumption off the licensed premises as prepackaged beer in non-refillable containers. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

Companions S.B. 445 and H.B. 774 increase to 60,000 (currently 22,500) the limit on the number of barrels of malt beverages that a micro-brewery may collectively brew, bottle, or contract for in a calendar year.  The House bill has received an unfavorable report in committee. (March Update)

Senate Bill 226 allows Maryland brewers to sample and sell their beer at farmers markets, County Agricultural Fairs, and a variety of other special events. (March Update)

MASSACHUSETTS

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

House Bill 267 seeks to allow brewers who represent 20% or less of a wholesaler's total sales in the prior calendar year to terminate the relationship in the absence of cause for fair market value.  If the parties cannot agree on the amount that fair market value represents, that determination shall be made through binding arbitration. (March Update)

Senate Bill 2009 expands the sales abilities of farmer breweries. (March Update)

MICHIGAN

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Receiving favorable House committee consideration and having previously passed the Senate, Senate Bill 650 would allow a "qualified micro brewer", or an out-of-state business that was the substantial equivalent of a qualified micro brewer, to sell and deliver beer to a retailer under certain conditions.  A qualified micro brewer is defined as one that produces less than 1,000 barrels of beer per year (all brands and labels combined, whether brewed within or outside of Michigan). A package of three bills, all of which previously passed the House, has been reported out of Senate committee. The legislation seeks to redefine production restrictions and consumption regulations affecting small brewers:

House Bill 4709 would amend the definition of "microbrewer" to increase the amount of beer that a business could brew and still be considered a microbrewer from 30,000 to 60,000 barrels per year.

House Bill 4710 would allow a brewpub to have an interest in up to five other brewpubs as long as the combined production of all the locations in which the brewpub has an interest does not exceed 18,000 barrels of beer in a calendar year. Under current law, brewpubs are limited to an interest in up to two other brewpubs if the combined production does not exceed 5,000 barrels of beer per calendar year.

House Bill 4711 would allow a brewer to sell its beer for on-premises consumption at up to two locations that are on any of its licensed brewery premises where the brewer is engaged in the production of beer (defined in the bill to mean the full and complete brewing process, not just a portion of the brewing process). Currently, a brewer can only sell its beer for on-premises consumption at one location.

Taxation

House Bill 5275 allows a brewer, micro brewer, or brewpub to claim a credit against certain taxes for beer produced using a specified percentage of hops and other ingredients grown in the state. (February Update)

MINNESOTA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Companions H.F. 2404 and S.F. 2374 seek to allow small brewers the ability to sell growlers on Sundays. (March Update)

MISSISSIPPI

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Failing to advance and dying in committee, Senate Bill 2590 sought to prohibit retailers of from having an interest in the business of wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers of beer. (March Update)

Failing to advance out of committee, S.B. 2720 sought to remove restrictions on manufacturers having certain relationship with retailers of beer. (February Update)

Also failing to advance and dying in committee, Senate Bill 2721 sought to give brewers with annual sales of 200,000 barrels or less the ability to sell at retail limited amounts of beer. (February Update)

Similar legislation also dying in committee, House Bill 904 sought to give the holder of a permit to manufacture beer who operates a brewery the ability to sell limited amounts of beer on the premises of the brewery. (February Update)

Taxation

Dying in committee, House Bill 183 sought to impose an additional tax to be paid by wholesalers for the privilege of engaging or continuing in business of 64.02 cents per gallon on beer manufactured at brewpubs and on beer acquired for sale or distribution in the state. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

An amended version of House Bill 801, authorizing package retailers to sample product and hold tasting/sampling events, has passed the Senate and been returned to the House for concurrence. (March Update)

MISSOURI

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Senate Bill 689 expands the types of packages in which malt liquor may be sold to include single bottles, cans and pouches of beer. (March Update

Trade Practice & Other

Receiving favorable committee consideration, House Bill 1266 authorizes a licensed beer merchant to sell 32 to 70 fluid ounces of beer in containers filled on the premises to customers for consumption off the premises. An employee must close the container with a one-time-use, tamper-proof seal.  The bill also prohibits any wholesaler, distributor, or manufacturer of intoxicating liquor from furnishing dispensing or cooling equipment to any person who is licensed to sell intoxicating liquor in the original retail package. (March Update)

Receiving favorable committee consideration, S.B. 786 specifies that the admission fee for any organized event at which home-brewed beer is available without a separate charge is not to be considered a sale of the beer so long as the home brewer does not receive proceeds from the fee and the beer consumption occurs off licensed premises or on certain types of licensed premises. (March Update)

H.B. 1121 requires a brew-on-premises facility to obtain a license from the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and stipulates that production cannot exceed 200 gallons per calendar year for households with two or more adults 21 years of age or older and 100 gallons per calendar year for households with one adult 21 years of age or older. (February Update)

House Bill 1304 changes the definition of "original package" of malt liquor for liquor licensing purposes to include cans and pouches. (February Update)

MONTANA

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

NEBRASKA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

L.B. 456 would allow for the sale of draught beer for home consumption to patrons of an establishment holding a Class C liquor license. (February Update)

NEVADA

Trade Practice & Other

The Attorney General sent an open letter to all those engaged in the sale of intoxicating liquors reminding them of their legal obligations relating to trade practices under state law. 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Passing the House, House Bill 1217 amends the definition of "wholesale distributor" to allow purchases of beverages from nano brewery licensees. (March Update)

Deemed inexpedient to legislate, House Bill 1287 sought to impose a refundable deposit on beverage containers. (March Update)

An amended, Senate Bill 257 authorizes off-premises and on-premises licensees to sell beer in sealed refillable containers. This bill also establishes a commission to study the sale of beer in refillable containers. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

Passing the Senate, Senate Bill 310 establishes a tenant brewer license authorizing the holder to enter into a partnership with a beverage manufacture to produce or package beer or specialty beer. (March Update)

Receiving favorable committee consideration, S.B. 329 eliminates the prohibition on advertising alcoholic beverages on billboards and establishes restrictions on the content and placement of billboards and exterior signs advertising alcoholic beverages. (March Update)

H.B. 1276 proposed legislation would remove restrictions which now prevent children from being shown on alcohol labels. (March Update)

NEW JERSEY

Taxation

Senate Bill 1201 seeks to create a new taxable category of alcoholic beverages called flavored malt beverages (defined as a beverage having an alcoholic content of one half of one per centum (1/2 of 1%) or more by volume for which the producer is required to file a formula for approval with the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) and imposes a separate tax rate on the category of $4.40 a gallon. (February Update)

Trade Practice & Other

Assembly Bill 698 prohibits the sale of alcoholic energy drinks which are defined as any prepackaged alcoholic beverage that has been intentionally supplemented by the manufacturer with caffeine. (February Update)

The "Smart Container Act" (A.B. 1079) would require a 10-cent deposit on all plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans (other than refillable containers) less than 24 oz. and a 20-cent deposit on such beverage containers over 24 oz. up to 3 liters. Wine and beer containers would be liable for a deposit. (February Update)

Assembly Bill 1959 would establish a farm brewery licensee allowing a holder to brew up to 2,000 barrels of malt alcoholic beverages a year for retail sale for consumption off the premises and to offer samples.  The legislation also creates a winery-brewery sublicense that would permit wineries to produce malt alcoholic beverages for retail sale to consumers for consumption off the licensed premises. (February Update)

NEW MEXICO

Taxation

Signed by the Governor, House Bill 16 increases the percentage of the liquor excise tax distributed to the local DWI grant fund. (March Update)

Passing the Senate, S.B. 263 would authorize counties to impose a local liquor excise tax. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

Passing and signed by the House, H.M. 67 requests a study on the feasibility of implementing regulations allowing the delivery of beer, wine and hard alcohol, along with the concurrent delivery of prepared foods or groceries, to homes, hotels and licensed bed and breakfasts. (March Update)

NEW YORK

Trade Practice & Other

A.B. 7544 establishes the New York craft beverage council within the Department of Economic Development to develop a marketing strategy to promote the state's fine wines, spirits and craft brews. (February Update)

Companion legislation A.B. 8679 and S.B. 2321 provide that the state policy with regard to the alcoholic beverage control law shall be to promote economic development and job opportunities in the beer, wine and liquor industries of the state. (February Update)

Senate Bill 434 relates to permits for brewers, manufacturers, and importers to serve small samples of their beer or malt beverages at certain events and includes the privilege to sell such beverages for consumption off-premises. (February Update)

NORTH CAROLINA

Trade Practice & Other

In recognition of North Carolina's 100 craft breweries and their positive impact on the state's economy, Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed April 2014 as North Carolina Beer Month. (March Update)

NORTH DAKOTA

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

OHIO

Trade Practice & Other

Senate Bill 173 authorizes specified persons to provide serving samples of and conduct consumer product instruction about the products of a manufacturer, supplier, or broker of beer, wine, or mixed beverages. The instruction or sampling must take place on the premises of a retail permit holder who is authorized to sell beer, wine, or mixed beverages for off-premises consumption. (February Update)

OKLAHOMA

Trade Practice & Other

H.B. 3105 clarifies that any disputes concerning distribution agreements for low-point beer between wholesalers and manufacturers must be resolved in the district and appellate courts of Oklahoma. (February Update)

OREGON

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

PENNSYLVANIA 

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

RHODE ISLAND

Trade Practice & Other

Held in committee for further study, Senate Bill 2110 provides for a farmer-brewer license and delineates the necessary percentages of hops which must be grown on both the specific licensed farm premises and at other in-state facilities. (March Update)

Held in committee for further study, S.B. 2112 seeks to amend current law so that a farmer-winery and a farmer-brewery may, under certain conditions, be licensed to sell wine/beer for off-premises consumption at a farmers' market, similar to that permitted in Massachusetts. (March Update)

SOUTH CAROLINA

Trade Practice & Other

Recommitted to committee for consideration, Senate Bill 423 specifies that samples and sales of beer at breweries must be restricted to products of fourteen percent alcohol by weight or less for on-premises consumption and, for sales, limited to a maximum of sixty-four ounces of beer per consumer in a twenty-four hour period.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Trade Practice & Other

Senate Bill 92 seeks to require nondiscriminatory pricing between malt beverage suppliers and malt beverage wholesalers. (February Update)

TENNESSEE

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

TEXAS

No new developments or issues being monitored at this time.

UTAH

Trade Practice & Other

House Bill 352, in part, provides for sampling and staff consumption of beer on brewery premises. (March Update)

VERMONT

House Bill 672 seeks to allow manufacturers or rectifiers of vinous beverages, malt beverages, or spirits to ship directly to consumers. (February Update)

Trade Practice & Other

Under House consideration after passing the Senate, Senate Bill 260 would allow malt and vinous beverage wholesale dealers to hold tastings at local establishments that have yet to receive their licenses, but have prior approval from the local control commission. (February Update)

VIRGINIA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Passing the House and the Senate, House Bill 882 would allow the sale of wine and cider in growlers or other reusable containers that are federally approved. (March Update)

Passing both legislative chambers, Senate Bill 596 imposes a state license tax of $350 and a local license tax of $250 for breweries that manufacture no more than 500 barrels of beer during the licensing year.

Trade Practice & Other

Passing both chambers of the legislature, Senate Bill 430 creates a new limited brewery license for breweries that manufacture no more than 15,000 barrels of beer per calendar year, are located on a farm in the Commonwealth, and use agricultural products that are grown on the farm in the manufacture of their beer. The bill limits local regulation of limited brewery licensees and specifically prohibits the imposition of minimum parking, road access, or road upgrade requirements on any licensed limited brewery. (March Update)

Taxation

Under House consideration after passing the Senate, Senate Bill 596 provides that the state license tax for breweries that manufacture no more than 500 barrels of beer during the licensing year is $350. (February Update)

WASHINGTON

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

House Bill 2327 would allow breweries, microbreweries, wineries and various retailers, restaurants, and hotel licensees to sell beer and wine in kegs and growlers, filled at the tap at the time of sale, for consumption off the premises. (February Update)

Taxation

Senate Bill 5949 seeks to impose a tax of one cent per 12 ounces of beer / 4 ounces of wine / 1 ounce of spirits for the privilege of selling, at wholesale or retail, liquor in this state to raise funds for additional alcohol and drug treatment. (March Update)

Trade Practice & Other

House Bill 1711 seeks to allow an unlimited number or combination of liquor licenses for the same premises, overlapping premises, adjacent premises, or separate premises, regardless of whether it is to the same licensee or to different licensees with common property ownership.  In the case of a violation that cannot be connected to a single licensee, however, the LCB may hold all licensees at the premises liable. (March Update)

Passing both chambers of the legislature, Senate Bill 6514 changes definition of "qualifying farmers market" such that farmers markets may qualify for retail sales and sampling of beer and wine produced by domestic wineries and microbreweries if the combined gross annual sales of farmers and processors at the market is at least $1 million. (March Update)

House Bill 1022 seeks to allow beer and/or wine specialty shops to provide samples to customers without prior qualification from the Liquor Control Board and to allow brewers, distributors, wineries, distillers, and importers to provide samples to other licensees without being subject to Liquor Control Board rules. (February Update)

Senate Bill 5303 allows breweries and microbreweries to identify the producer of their beer on private labels authorized under current law.  (February Update)

WEST VIRGINIA

Sales, Distribution and Franchise

Passing both legislative chambers, House Bill 4549 seeks to strengthen distributor franchise rights with respect to brand rights, including line extensions and new brands, and gives the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Commissioner authority to investigate, review and approve or deny franchise agreements. 

Taxation

House Bill 4292 doubles the tax on non-intoxicating beer to $11.00 a barrel and designates half that amount to fund an alcohol prevention and treatment program. (February Update)

As part of the Tax Revenue Act of 2014 (Senate Bill 302), the barrel tax imposed on non-intoxicating is increased by twenty-five percent on each barrel, and in like ratio on each part barrel, of non-intoxicating beer manufactured in the state for sale within this state, whether contained or sold in barrels, bottles or other containers.  A like tax is also levied and on all non-intoxicating beer manufactured outside the state but sold in this state. (February Update)

WISCONSIN

Trade Practice & Other

Draft legislation to create a Wisconsin Beer Commission focused on the marketing, research and promotion of beer produced in Wisconsin is being circulated for consideration. (March Update)

WYOMING

Trade Practice & Other

Failing to advance, House Bill 156 sought to amend the definition of a microbrewery from a producer that could not exceed 15,000 barrels annual production to one that could not exceed 25,000 barrels. (March Update)

FEDERAL

Small Brewer Federal Excise Tax Legislation

Small brewer excise tax recalibration legislation, The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act) continues to gain support in both chambers of the 113th U.S. Congress.  H.R. 494 was introduced on February 5 by Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Richard E. Neal (D-MA).  Joining as original co-sponsors of the bill were Representatives Peter De Fazio (D-OR), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC).  The bill now has a total of 146 sponsors.

On May 9, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 917 in the U.S. Senate.  The bill now has the support of 38 Senate sponsors.

The Small BREW Act seeks to reduce the small brewer rate on the first 60,000 barrels by 50 percent (from $7.00 to $3.50/barrel) and institute a new rate $16.00 per barrel on beer production above 60,000 barrels up to 2 million barrels.  Breweries with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less would qualify for these tax rates.  Legislation introduced last session, H.R. 1236, gained a total of 174 total sponsors.  In the Senate, companion legislation S.534 realized 44 total sponsors. (March Update)

TTB Updates Policy on Gluten Labeling

Following an extensive review of the recent Food and Drug Administration's ruling on this issue, the TTB has released a Revised Interim Policy on Gluten Content Statements in the Labeling and Advertising of Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages (TTB Ruling 2014-2). 

According to TTB, under the updated policy, alcohol beverages that are made from ingredients that do not contain gluten may continue to make "gluten-free" claims in the same way allowed in the new FDA regulations for inherently gluten-free products. 

Consistent with the new FDA regulations, TTB will continue to consider "gluten-free" label claims for alcohol beverages that are made from gluten-containing grains to be misleading to consumers who are seeking to avoid the consumption of gluten for health reasons. However, products made from gluten-containing grains may be labeled with a statement that the product was "Processed," "Treated," or "Crafted" to remove gluten, if that claim is made together with a qualifying statement that warns the consumer that the gluten content of the product cannot be determined and that the product may contain gluten. (March Update)

Distilled Spirits Excise Tax Reduction Bill Introduced

H.R. 4083, seeking to reduce the federal excise tax on distilled spirits on the first 100,000 proof gallons, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The reduced rate would apply to all producers and would be set at $2.70/proof gallon, a reduction of $10.80/proof gallon on the existing rate. (March Update)