BevAlc Roundup | California Proposes Expanding Bottle Bill Rules, Opportunity in a Slowing-Growth Market, and Looking Back on Prohibition

Alex Koral
January 20, 2020

2020 marks 100 years since the start of the Prohibition Era (the Volstead Act, which implemented the 18th Amendment, and prohibited the sale and production of any product with more than 0.5 percent ABV, came into effect on January 17, 1920). As such, there has been a lot of coverage in the media of this dubious anniversary, some of it pointing out the problems of Prohibition and moralizing human behavior in general, and others wondering whether we’ve swung too far against the idea of temperance. To paraphrase Spinoza, we certainly don’t want to be doomed to repeat the past (hint, hint, neo-Prohibitionists); and studying history is an invaluable (and fun!) way to learn those lessons. But we also should recognize that we face a different world and society than existed 100 years ago (climate change, for one, is new; and even things that at times rhyme with the past, like online sales, are not actually the issues that existed back then), and so we need to focus on finding modern resolutions to our modern problems.

In the meantime, we still have the Roundup to bring us needed context. This week we look at potential ways the tariff problems affecting the beverage alcohol industry could resolve. Then, the Silicon Valley Bank report on the 2019 wine industry is out, and everyone has an opinion on what it means for the future. And finally, how predicting the future is often a good way to publicly showcase your mistakes.

In case you haven’t heard, the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report is available for download. And the 2020 version is coming soon—stay tuned! Get your free copy of the report here.

Thanks for reading the Roundup this week. As ever, be sure to check out the rest of the Sovos ShipCompliant 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 about our trade practices video series, the updated list of chemists certified to perform export analyses, and two recent OICs accepted following trade practice investigations. TTB

New Developments on Import Tariffs Offer Wine Industry Faint Glimmers of Hope | Wine industries on both sides of the Atlantic are hoping the Trump Administration does not slap a 100% tariff on a wide variety of European goods, including wine. Oregon Live

Lawmakers To Try Again To Ease Restrictions on Wine Containers, Craft Distilleries | Floridians could soon buy wine bottles that rival the size of toddlers. Florida Politics

Beverage Makers Have Dodged California’s Recycling Crisis. That May Soon Change | A state Senate committee is slated to hold hearings on a bill that could make beverage manufacturers more responsible for helping consumers recycle, and also extend the Bottle Bill provisions to wine and liquor makers. LA Times

2020 And the Decade to Come | The Roaring Twenties are coming back, with a vengeance. Wine, Beer and Spirits will be challenged during the next decade by the federal and state government, by consumers, by the anti-alcohol forces of darkness and by the industry itself. Booze Rules

Industry Updates: Market Conditions and Developments

Growth is Slowing but Consumer Trends Present Opportunities for the Wine Industry | While wine sales have slowed and wineries struggle to attract young customers, there are still opportunities for the industry to tap into. Wine Business

State of the Wine Industry Report 2020 | One of the wine industry’s most authoritative annual reports that assesses current conditions with street-level intelligence and provides a unique forecast based on micro- and macroeconomic and behavioral trends. Silicon Valley Bank

Hard Times Ahead for US Wine | The latest Silicon Valley Bank State of the Industry report makes for grim reading. 

High Inventories Will Take Time to Move in a Slow Market | Producers must focus on growing market share. Wine Business

The Year Bourbon Went Ballistic | When it comes to the top-performing category for 2019 there is only one winner. 


The Folly of Wine Prophecy | Making predictions can be foolish, as James Lawrence discovers when he revisits his prognostications from last year. 

Wine’s Most Inspiring People | The consistent force behind sustainability in practice. Wine Industry Advisor

Why Winemaking Is About More Than Making Wine | If you think winemaking is simply about turning juice into booze once a year, you’re dreaming. Industry folks laugh out loud when they hear such sentiments, aware that the job, while romantic, depends deeply on so many decidedly less romantic things. The Manual

Wet vs Dry: How Prohibition Fractured America | How the movement was fuelled by anti-immigration sentiment as much as morality, and led to deep divisions, from race to religion. History Extra


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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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