On August 23rd the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) struck down federal regulations restricting refunds on export taxes and restricting beer and wine manufacturers greater tax refunds for duties paid on imports. In National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of the Treasury (see ruling here), the Federal Circuit

Aside from the regulatory requirements imposed on beer labels, as discussed in the Anatomy of a Beer Label: Part I post on COLAs, brewers should consider protecting the trademarks featured on their beer labels.

Trademarks

Since every brewer has a brand, consumers most commonly encounter brewers’ trademarks in the form of a brand name or logo.  Trademarks serve as source identifiers to distinguish the origin of goods and services and avoid consumer confusion.  Typically, a trademark may be a word, phrase, design, or a combination of such items, though trademarks may also protect sounds, colors, and smells under certain conditions.  For a beer label, trademark law is best suited to protect the brewery name, sub-brand or inventive beer name, and any slogans or logos.
Continue Reading Anatomy of a Beer Label: Part II

During the height of the pandemic, most states implemented legislative changes and/or policy modifications for sales of alcoholic beverages for the duration of the state’s declared emergency. As the state of emergency orders are lifted, we are seeing most policies go back to pre-COVID licensing requirements and service restrictions, while some states are taking the

A beer label tells consumers more than just what the bottle or can contains (e.g., brewed hops, grain, yeast, and water).  Labels inform consumers of important facts like the alcohol content by volume (ABV) and the net contents of the container, and may also provide insight on the flavor profile of the beer or the ethos of the brewery.  Some beer labels may even constitute works of art.  However, brewers should be aware that certain regulatory requirements apply to beer labels in the United States, and that certain forms of intellectual property can protect different aspects of beer labels.  This post is part of a three-part series, with Part I describing the regulatory requirements for a brewer’s beer label and the authorizations and protections those regulatory requirements confer.
Continue Reading Anatomy of a Beer Label: Part I

The Craft Beverage Modernization Act (“CBMA”) provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reduced excise taxes levied against all alcoholic beverage producers, large and small, foreign and domestic. In 2020, Congress made those tax cuts permanent and transferred responsibility for administering CBMA imported alcohol provisions from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to the Treasury Department effective December 31, 2022. Domestic industry takes direct advantage of CBMA benefits when paying tax to TTB. However, foreign producers and importers will soon have to navigate a new system to take advantage of CBMA tax credits.
Continue Reading Updates to the CBMA: How to Navigate TTB’s Proposed 2023 Refund Claims for Imported Alcohol System

On January 12, 2021, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law Bill S2841 amending Chapter 138 of the General Laws by inserting Sec. 25E 1/2. Under M.G.L.A. 138 § 25E ½ “a brewery may, without good cause, terminate the right of a licensed wholesaler to whom such brewery has made regular sales of malt beverages

On February 22, 2021, the Hawaii Senate passed SB No. 65, a measure allowing direct-to-consumer shipping of distilled spirits in original containers. The bill was passed in response to the legislature’s finding that the COVID-19 pandemic and the governmental responses to contain the spread of COVID-19 have disproportionately affected certain local liquor producers. With the frequent closure of bars, clubs, and in-person dining, local liquor producers have struggled to find alternative methods of serving their customers, resulting in drastic revenue losses.
Continue Reading Hawaii Senate Passes Bill Allowing Direct-To-Consumer Shipping of Distilled Spirits

In December 2020, the US Congress voted to pass, and the President signed, the long-awaited Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (“CMBTRA”), making permanent the reduction in the federal excise tax (“FET”) rate paid by distillers.

The CMBTRA was originally signed into law on January 1, 2018 as a two-year tax break for producers,

On December 29, 2020, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) published a final rule in the Federal register that amends TTB’s regulations that govern wine and distilled spirits. Specially, the final rule adds seven new standards of fill for wine and distilled spirits. The additional container sizes are:

Wine Distilled Spirits
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