Join us this Friday, March 1, at the 2019 New England Craft Brew Summit at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland, Maine. The premier regional, craft beer industry business-to-business conference will be jam-packed with seminars on a variety of topics geared towards business operations, technical brewing and the tasting room and brew pub. In the morning, attorney Jonathan Dunitz will join a panel on the Food Safety Modernization Act alongside Rising Tide Brewing’s Nathan Sanborn, University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Dr. Jason Bolton, and University of Southern Maine QC2 Lab’s Dr. Lucille Benedict. The presentation will help attendees to navigate new FDA requirements and provide insights into planning for full compliance. Later in the day, attorney Tawny Alvarez will participate in an interactive session on what’s “Safe and Legal” for tasting rooms and brewpubs. During the presentation, Tawny and fellow panelists, including Orono Brewing Company’s Heather Furth, GHM Insurance’s James Sanborn, and Maine Brewers Guild’s Sean Sullivan will dive into the responsibilities and liabilities related to serving alcohol in tap rooms, brewpubs, and beer festivals. (more…)
Posts Tagged: Breweries
Planning to brew something that needs a formula approval or a COLA approval? Have a new facility in the works? If so, you might want to reconfigure your schedule because the government shutdown has caused the TTB to suspend many of its functions. While you can still access certain functions on the TTB’s website, including Permits Online, Formulas Online, and COLAs Online, those applications will not be reviewed until after the government shutdown is over. In addition, TTB personnel have been told not to report to work and, according to the website, are prohibited by federal law from volunteering their services during the shutdown. This means that if you have a question or an issue with your application, nobody at TTB is available to assist you. Furthermore, TTB cannot update its website during the shutdown, so it is possible that some of the information will be outdated or otherwise inaccurate. We still recommend that you file the applications because there is no telling how long or short the shutdown will be. Moreover, if others file and you do not, there could be a significant backlog once regular service is restored, which could further delay approval of your application. (more…)
“Buy our beer and we’ll donate $1 to charity.” The ultimate “doing well by doing good.” Many large beer brands see the marketing advantage of asking consumers to buy their product in return for the brand’s donation to charity. For example, since 2011, Corona has donated a portion of the purchase price to the Jimmy V Foundation to help raise money for cancer research and in six years Miller Beer has raised $175,000 through its Tap Into Change program by donating a portion of sales to organizations focusing on LGBTQ issues.
A Guy Unexpectedly Walks into a TSA Bag Inspection: Don’t Let TSA Snag your Swag and Other Promotions Gone Awry
With the increasing popularity of beer tourism and the statistics on brand loyalty (or lack thereof) among craft beer lovers, breweries may be looking for ways to promote their brand and keep their brewery’s name on the lips of consumers. Some have started loyalty programs, while others find alternate fun and distinctive ways to promote their brand. We continue to be amazed by and applaud the craft brew community’s innovative approach to growth and marketing. We encourage you to keep the craft beer community unique, creative and fun. But, sometimes promotions go wrong in unexpected ways that at best are embarrassing, and at worst run afoul of the law.
So let’s start with a recent mistake that led to the risk management guy (your author) getting stopped by TSA on his way home from speaking on that very topic at a national conference. I assume that most of this conference’s attendees flew there. I would also guess that many who flew opted not to check a bag. Those two simple facts were overlooked by at least one conference exhibitor whose good intentions in handing out carabiner key chains and pens went awry. (more…)
Next week, on April 30, thousands from the craft brewing community will take over America’s Music City for the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, presented by the Brewers Association. Joining them at this year’s conference are Verrill Dana Lawyers on Tap, Tawny Alvarez and Jonathan Dunitz. Jonathan will co-present, “From 1 Barrel to 1,000: Managing Risk from Start-Up to Rapid Growth,” with fellow panelists James Sanborn, of GHM Insurance Agency; Brad Weller, of Macpage; and Daniel Kleban, of Maine Beer Company. The panel discussion will focus on the risk that brewers need to be attuned to throughout their brewery’s growth – whether it’s a new lease for a larger facility, a bad batch of beer, contracts with glass manufacturers and canning contractors, or an accident in a tasting room. They will cover how to best protect your brewery from business and economic risks, including the roles of insurance coverage and bookkeeping. (more…)
TTB Expands Allowable Changes to Labels without Resubmission, but Reminds us that One Label “Does Not (Necessarily) Fit All”
Certificate of Label Approval (or COLA) can be one of the more frustrating processes for brewers. Each label must be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Once the COLA is issued, only certain, limited changes can be made to the label without resubmitting it for new approval. In many situations, there are state requirements that must also be met.
Until March 26, 2018, there were only 34 categories of label revisions that could be made without a new application. On March 26, 2018, the TTB issued Industry Circular Number 2018-2, which amended an existing category and added three new categories of label revisions that may be made without submitting a new application (click here for the full list of categories). (more…)
Today (March 29) is baseball’s opening day and beer and baseball are in the news. The New York Yankees appear to be in trouble for their new “Pinstripe Pilsner” which has an image of your favorite Yankee player in the foam. But those of you wanting to take a sip of Aaron Judge’s mug may have to wait, since MLB does not allow current players on beer advertising.
Beer has been linked with baseball for as long as baseball has existed. In fact, the original Cincinnati Redstockings left the National League in 1881 when its brewer-owner refused to sign a “no beer at the ballpark” pledge. Today, there are still calls to take the suds out of sports. But knowing the current do’s and don’ts of sports advertising will help you stay a-head of the game. (more…)
Last week, on March 22, 2018, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission issued an Advisory on cannabis in alcoholic beverages. Here is a copy of the Cannabis in Alcohol Advisory. While retail sales of cannabis are expected to be lawful under Massachusetts law (while still an illegal schedule I drug under federal law), as of July 1, 2018, the Commission noted that “it will remain unlawful to manufacture and/or sell alcoholic beverages containing any cannabinoid extracts, including tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and cannabidiol (“CBD”), regardless of whether it is derived from the cannabis plant or industrial hemp.”
Specifically, the Commission noted that “Cannabinoid extract from the cannabis plant is considered a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency” and “[i]nfusing or otherwise adding cannabinoid extract in alcoholic beverages is considered adulteration of alcohol” under Massachusetts General Law chapter 270, chapter 1. The Commission notes that in addition to being considered an adulteration of alcohol under Massachusetts law it would also likely be a violation of the federal Food and Drug Administration’s Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated . . . [i]f it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health . . . .” 21 U.S.C. § 342(a). (more…)
This spring, the craft brewing community will take over America’s Music City for the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®, presented by the Brewers Association, from April 30 to May 3. Joining them at this year’s conference is Verrill Dana’s own Jonathan Dunitz who will co-present, “From 1 Barrel to 1,000: Managing Risk from Start-Up to Rapid Growth,” with GHM Insurance Agency’s James Sanborn, Macpage’s Brad Weller, and Maine Beer Company’s Daniel Kleban.
In a special three-part miniseries for the Verrill Voices podcast, attorney Jonathan Dunitz discusses risk management for breweries and brewpubs with a successful brewery owner, a leading insurance agent in the craft beverage industry, and an experienced corporate attorney. The podcast series takes owners of new and growing breweries through various considerations focused on limiting their risk exposure. In the first episode, Jonathan and Rising Tide Brewing Company founder Heather Sanborn discuss how policies, checklists and best practices should be implemented to reduce exposure to risk that could threaten the brewery. In the second episode, Jonathan and James Sanborn, insurance agent and manager of GHM Insurance’s Craft Beverage Program, discuss insurance, and the unique coverage needs of brewery owners to mitigate the specific kinds of risk impacting them and their business. The final episode, featuring Jonathan and fellow Verrill Dana attorney Mark Googins, focuses on the ways in which contracts may shift risk among parties doing business together. (more…)