Earlier this week, Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill that would update the state’s liquor laws. State Senator John Lowe introduced LB376, which passed with a 41-0 vote.
Under the bill, Nebraska will now create a brand registration for the state’s Liquor Control Commission to accurately identify and track alcoholic products imported into the state. This new brand registration requirement will become effective January 1, 2024 and will apply to all alcohol products imported into the state for either three-tier distribution or direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping. Registration will need to be completed by the Primary American Source or authorized brand dealer (who will need to certify their authorization) of the product, who will need to indicate their Nebraska wholesaler and pay a fee.
As reported by the Nebraska Legislature, provisions for five other bills were also included in the passed legislation:
- LB259 lets farm wineries apply for a license to sell beer, mixed drinks and other alcoholic beverages not produced by the farm winery for consumption on their premises.
- LB377 authorizes nonprofits to apply for up to 12 Special Designated Licenses (SDL) per calendar year. Current regulations restrict nonprofits to six SDL applications each year.
- LB452 allows licensed microdistilleries to sell up to 500 gallons of their product directly to licensed retail facilities annually.
- LB596 permits liquor manufacturers and wholesalers to enter into an advertising or sponsorship agreement with a nonprofit organization, municipal corporation, religious corporation or political subdivision that holds an SDL.
- LB667 authorizes alcohol wholesalers to use channel pricing, which is used to determine a product’s price based on the retailer’s license and business type.
It’s important to note the new product registration requirement for primary American source suppliers prior to bringing any product into Nebraska. This will apply to all products and any time a product will be shipped into Nebraska, including DtC and three-tier sales. Currently, Nebraska allows for DtC shipping of wine, beer and spirits.
With the new registration part of the law not going into effect until the start of 2024, Nebraska can utilize all of 2023 to further develop its specific process and forms for the legislation’s requirements.
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