Alcoholic Beverages Law

Insight and Information for the Wine, Beer and Distilled Spirits Industry

Beginning in mid-2019, many Washington wineries will need a permit from the state Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) to discharge wastewater. Ecology issued the state’s first five-year Winery General Permit (the “permit”) on May 17, 2018, but delayed its effective date until July 1, 2019. The new permit will regulate discharges of process wastewater from wineries to land, groundwater, and wastewater treatment plants. No surface water discharges will be allowed under the permit. Ecology has not…
As we wrote about earlier this month, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) passed late last year included significant, temporary federal excise tax relief for wine, beer and spirits businesses for 2018 and 2019.  Unfortunately, in an apparent oversight of legislative drafting, the wine excise tax relief (provided in the form of a tax credit) was drafted in such a way that custom-crush facilities and bonded wine cellars were not eligible to…
The California Court of Appeal recently handed a victory to winemakers, ruling that a specific Proposition 65 (“Prop. 65”) warning is not required regarding the presence of inorganic arsenic. The lawsuit, Charles et al. v. Sutter Home Winery et al., was originally filed in 2015 and alleged that wines made by over 15 named defendants exposed consumers to inorganic arsenic without the correct Prop. 65 warning. Inorganic arsenic is a chemical identified by the State…
This post was written by Adam Belzberg, Ryan Jones and Tim O’Connell for the Stoel Rives World of Employment blog. In yet another blow to agricultural employers, grab your stopwatches. In Carranza v. Dovex Fruit Co., the Washington Supreme Court has just held that agricultural employers are required to compensate piece-rate workers on a separate hourly basis for time spent performing tasks outside the specific scope of the piece-rate work. In a narrow 5-4…
Included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) passed in late December were “Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform” provisions that, among other things, reduced federal excise taxes for wine, beer and spirits businesses. These reductions expire at the end of 2019 unless extended by future legislation. While these changes may not have initially received a great deal of coverage in the press, affected businesses experienced almost immediate tax relief and are now…
This post was co-authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Chad Punch. Earlier this summer, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revisited an issue that it had examined thirty years prior: whether a California Prohibition-era tied house law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it impermissibly restricts commercial speech. Specifically, in Retail Digital Network, LLC v. Prieto (No. 13-56069), the plaintiff, Retail Digital Network, LLC (“RDN”) sued Ramona Prieto (“Prieto”) in her official capacity as Acting…
This post was guest authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Alex Pearson. With the Washington State Legislature’s third special session at a close, now is a good time for alcoholic beverage producers and distributors to take a moment to look at five bills that passed the Legislature and were signed into law by Governor Inslee this past session. All are effective as of July 23, 2017, and create new opportunities for producers and distributors. What follows…
This post was guest authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Antonija Krizanac. Since the 2017 Oregon Legislative Session convened on February 1, 2017, the Legislature has introduced a variety of bills that impact the Oregon alcohol and beverage industry. Out of the countless proposed bills, five have already been signed by the Governor and will go into effect this year or early 2018 and may impact your business. Following is a summary of those bills. House…
This post was guest authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Emma Vignali. On July 23, 2017, numerous Bills will go into effect that will meaningfully impact alcohol and beverage retailers across Washington. Governor Jay Inslee will sign four bills that will create opportunities for alcohol retailers and simplify the licensing process for current and future licensees. Additionally, although not yet passed by the legislature, S.B. 5164 would expand the criteria under RCW 66.24.363 to authorize the…
For years, the City of Portland has had an expansive, complex and restrictive regulatory system for parking in the Central City. However, in an effort to promote better utilization of Central City parking spaces, the City is currently considering substantial simplification of its Central City parking code, which hotels may benefit from. Historically, hotels selling onsite parking spaces to non-guests were potentially vulnerable to zoning code enforcement actions prohibiting rental of those spaces to persons…