BevAlc Roundup | Congress Extends Federal Alcohol Tax Relief, Wine Prices to Continue Correction in 2020, and Hard Seltzer is Here to Stay

Alex Koral
December 20, 2019

Here we are with the final Roundup of 2019, and more than that, the final Roundup of the twenty-teens. And what an eventful decade it has been! Back in 2010, Sovos ShipCompliant was still a hardscrabble startup focused on supporting the development of the DtC wine shipping market. Since that time DtC wine shipping has grown more than three-fold into a $3 billion annual market. Meanwhile ShipCompliant also expanded to support more product types and sales platforms, including building out the Product Registration Online tool that has helped improve brand/label registration processes in more than a dozen states. In 2015, we merged with Sovos Compliance to help develop one of the largest and most comprehensive business-to-government compliance support companies in the world. 

Any extended period of time will see its share of good times and bad, triumphs and tribulations. But through everything, we have aimed to keep our focus on what really matters: you, our clients and friends, who have come to rely on us to build your businesses. We so appreciate our place in this valuable and exciting industry, and seeing your growth and success makes every day a pleasure.

As we move into the new year—and decade—there will surely be many opportunities to reflect on what has happened and where we are going, and we look forward to being with you through it all.

In this week’s Roundup, we look at major regulatory trends shaping the beverage alcohol industry going into the 2020s; also what market trends will shape the wine industry going forward. And looking back, did an ability to process alcohol help our early primate ancestors survive and thrive?

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 information for alcohol taxpayers who will file one annual return for 2019, and a reminder that our Temporary Voluntary Disclosure Program will end at the end of the month. TTB

House Passes Extension of Wine Excise Tax Reduction | This legislation extends through December 31, 2020 the reforms first enacted at the end of 2017 that create a fair and equitable tax structure for wineries. Wine Institute

By the Book: Four Major Laws Shaking Up the Drinks World | In the alcohol beverage industry, keeping up with the lightning-fast rate at which new rules are created and old ones evolve can be as challenging as trying to predict what millennials will want to drink next. Spirited

Why the Wine World is “Freaking Out” About New Tariffs | U.S. importers, industry watchers, and European producers are fretting about the impact of a proposed 100 percent tariff on European goods, including wine, that would go into effect in early 2020. Grub Street

As Liquor Shortage Lingers, Some Question Michigan’s Distribution System | The scarcity of spirits has Michigan bars, restaurants, stores and customers frustrated this holiday season, and is making some question if the state needs to fundamentally change how it handles liquor distribution in Michigan. MLive

Industry Updates: Market Conditions and Developments

At 2019 Close, Wine Marketing-Past and Future-Is Tied to Social Media | Before the 2000s, personal contact with influencers was a most important wine marketing tool; over the past decade digitally captured data from social media activity began to supplant face-to-face marketing, and it will continue to supplant in the near future. Fobes

The Most Important Wine Trends of the Decade | A number of trends defined the decade, ranging from a surge in popularity for certain categories and styles, to innovative technology, packaging upgrades, and philosophical debates that not only divided wine enthusiasts but gripped the mainstream media. VinePair

Wine Price Correction to Intensify in 2020 | Michael De Loach, a broker and marketing consultant for wine brands, observes that we’re right in the thick of a major price correction, something the wine industry goes through every 8 to 12 years. Wine Industry Advisor

Fine Wine Predictions for 2020 | What could be in store for the fine wine market in 2020? A natural uprising? An Italian renaissance? Is 2019 Bordeaux already in trouble? Will South American labels benefit from anti-EU tariffs? The Drinks Business

Five Important Wine Trends and Predictions for 2020 | It’s not always easy to make predictions, but it is fun. Fermentation


Drinking Only One Type of Wine is Bad for Your Palate (Sorry) | It’s important to keep an open mind, as it can be too easy to pass on a wine outside of your comfort zone. Wine Enthusiast

Is Hard Seltzer a Fad? New Data Suggests Otherwise | Similar to conversations about where hard soda was headed a few years ago, there are opinionated stakeholders—some armed with data to strengthen their arguments—on both sides of the debate. Forbes

Japan Is About to Become the Newest “It” Region for Wine | Although Japan is best known for sake, historians have found that another alcoholic beverage predates this tipple in the country by centuries: wine. Fortune

Was Alcohol Mankind’s Secret Evolutionary Weapon? | A new book finds that our early simian ancestors’ ability to process moderate amounts of alcohol may have given them a critical edge in the fight for survival. Wine Spectator


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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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