Self-Distribution and Franchise Bill Passes in Maine

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Signed by the Governor, Senate Bill 593 seeks to change the definition of “small brewery” by increasing the amount of malt liquor a small brewery may brew, and subsequently self-distribute, from 50,000 gallons to 30,000 barrels per year. The bill also sets the maximum amount of the distribution termination fee that the wholesale licensee is entitled to receive from that small beer manufacturer in connection with a non-good cause termination if that small beer manufacturer’s brands make up no more than 3% of the wholesale licensee’s business. Finally, the legislation provides for a shortened notification requirement, expedited arbitration, and allows the transfer of distribution rights upon notification, regardless of whether the terminated distributor has received the termination fee.