BevAlc Roundup | Time Running Out to Extend Reduced Federal Excise Taxes, Beer Shipments Fall to Decade Low in 2019, and Is Molasses the Secret to Good Rum

Alex Koral
December 9, 2019

December 5 was the 86th anniversary of Repeal Day, the day the 21st Amendment was enacted, restoring the legal market for producing and selling alcohol in the United States. While the many decades between then and now have been very fruitful for producers, distributors, and retailers of alcohol and the satisfied consumers they serve, the industry would do well to remember that there are still efforts to denigrate and tarnish beverage alcohol, even some trying to bring back Prohibition. Therefore, let’s take this anniversary to remind ourselves of the sense of responsibility that undergirds our industry. That responsibility reinforces the notion that enjoyment and safety are not enemies. It acknowledges that alcohol is enjoyable and fun and a part of human identity going back millennia; but also that alcohol is an intoxicant and can have pernicious effects if misused. As such, it forces us to realize that the freedom to drink (like all freedoms we enjoy) requires us to always think of the effects on ourselves and others and to not abuse that freedom. So let’s all raise a glass to toast the restoration of freedoms that Repeal Day represents—responsibly.

In this week’s Roundup we look at the effects of the recent announcement by the White House to enact extreme tariffs on French wine. We then look at how the direct-to-consumer and three-tier retail channels interact, and indeed can grow together; and finally the New York Times’s wine critic looks back on his favorite wine moments of 2019.

In case you haven’t heard, the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report is available for download. Get your copy today here.

Thanks for reading the Roundup this week. As ever, be sure to check out the rest of the ShipCompliant by Sovos blog for regular updates, and we’ll see you again in another couple of weeks.

Regulatory News and Discussions

TTB Newsletter | This week’s top news includes hints for speeding up your formula approval times, and notification of upcoming Permits Online maintenance. TTB 

TTB Newsletter — Time Running Out for Voluntary Disclosure of Unreported Changes in Control of ProprietorshipThis week’s top news includes the semi-annual publication of our regulatory priorities, the window is closing on making voluntary disclosures of unreported changes in control or proprietorship through Industry Circular 2019-2, and we recently accepted an offer in compromise from a California wine company. TTB

December 5 Day of Action Planned to Urge Congressional Passage of CBMTRA Before Year-End Deadline | Leaders in the beverage alcohol sector are urging industry advocates across the nation to participate in a national Day of Action on December 5 by contacting their members of Congress to urge passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. Wine Business

French Wine, Cheese Targeted in Latest Trump Trade Fight | Industry groups are sounding the alarm on President Trump’s proposal to hit $2.4 billion in French goods with tariffs, warning that the latest trade salvo will affect a broad array of goods and its effects fall on U.S. consumers and small businesses. The Hill

US Tariff Threat on Champagne Is Unacceptable, Says French Wine Body | It is ‘deplorable’ that the US has threatened tariffs on Champagne and other French sparkling wines by up to 100%, said one industry leader, who urged France’s government to find a solution to a dispute over the country’s digital services tax. Decanter

Taking the Direct Route to Wine | It’s the busy wine-buying season, so what exactly are the rules around buying direct from the winery? Wine-searcher.com

Industry Updates: Market Conditions and Developments

US Beer Shipments Could Reach Decade-Low in 2019 | The number of U.S. brewing companies is at an all-time high, but domestic beer production will likely hit a decade-low before the calendar flips to 2020. Forbes

Staring Down Sexism in Wine (Podcast) | The closer we look at the world of wine, the more obvious it becomes that in most ways it remains dominated by white men. VinePair

Direct-to-Consumer And Traditional Wine Retailing Are Not Rivals, Says an Expert | ShipCompliant by Sovos’s Senior Regulatory Counsel responds to a Drizly survey of wine retailers. Forbes

Distributor Behind Michigan Liquor Shortage Touts Improvements, but Complaints Persist | The company behind Michigan’s liquor shortage says it’s made big strides in recent weeks to address the state’s liquor shortage, but the state and retailers point to signs of ongoing problems going into the holidays. M Live

Craft Beer Mergers and Acquisitions | Over the past several months, 15 notable deals have taken place in the craft beer space, continuing a trend toward consolidation in the industry. Alcohol Law Advisor

Digestif

Eric Asimov’s Best Wine Moments of 2019 | The best bottles don’t necessarily meet some objective standard. Instead, they are the ones that you can’t forget, that have meaning and tell stories. New York Times

Is the Secret to Great Rum Molasses? | How an acclaimed New England rum distiller decided to switch to using historic and traditional molasses. Daily Beast

The Stone Cold Truth About Aging Wine in Concrete | There’s a growing call for neutrality—that is, aging in non-reactive vessels that don’t impart their own flavors to the wine held within—as producers shift to concrete, often egg-shaped vats, for the maceration, fermentation, and aging of wine. Barrons

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Author

Alex Koral

Alex Koral is Senior Regulatory Counsel for Sovos ShipCompliant in the company’s Boulder, Colorado office. He actively researches beverage alcohol regulations and market developments to inform development of Sovos’ ShipCompliant product and help educate the industry on compliance issues. Alex has been in the beverage alcohol arena since 2015, after receiving his J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School.
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