What is a Craft Beer Attorney?” is usually the first thing people ask when I tell them what I do. The truth is, I made it up! When I graduated from law school, I had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice. Just over a year ago, I attended a San Diego County Bar function and met a wine lawyer. Suddenly it occurred to me that I had never met, or even heard of, a beer lawyer! So, for me, a Craft Beer Attorney is an attorney who can meet all the various legal needs that one may run into when opening/running a brewery, brewpub or bar. This would include Business Law, such as forming your business entity (partnership vs. corporation vs. LLC), Alcohol Law (California ABC licensing), advertising issues, Federal TTB (the former ATF) licensing issues and label approval, Property Law for lease negotiations, Contract Law for drafting distribution agreements, and Intellectual Property Law to protect trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets; Environmental Law may also come into play.
New ABC Laws Take Effect “
By Candace Moon There has been a lot of confusion regarding two new changes in the ABC law that
took effect in January. As part of the California ABC Act, suppliers (such as breweries) are restricted from providing any advertising that benefits a retailer. There are, howev- er, two new areas where suppliers can engage in advertising their events with retailers. License Type 86
There is a new “instructional tasting license” to be issued to certain businesses that currently have a license to sell alcohol to-go. A type 86 licensee may advertise an instructional tasting event to the general public. The costs of this advertising shall be borne solely by the type 86 licensee (i.e. the retailer). Permitted advertising includes flyers, newspaper ads, Internet communications, and interior signage. Other than these specifics, the law is fairly vague about what can be included in the ad, unlike the fol- lowing legislation. Beer Maker’s Dinner Bill A licensed beer manufacturer may instruct consumers at businesses that sell beer for consumption on their premises. The instruction may include serving beer sold by the retailer to the consumer and providing information on the history, nature, values, and characteristics of the beer, and methods of presenting and serving the beer. The ABC has very specifically limited what can be advertised: the name and address of the retailer (remaining relatively inconspicuous to the ad as a whole), the names of beers being featured & the time, date and location of the instructional event. The advertisement cannot contain the retail price of the beers, and no pictures or illus- trations of the retailer’s premises and laudatory references to the retailer are allowed. So although brewery advertising of events at retailers is still quite limited and re- stricted, there has been some progress. If you are concerned about whether or not your advertisement is allowed under these new laws, contact the ABC or your local Craft Beer Attorney!
This article is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. You should consult with an attorney familiar with the issues and the laws.
Candace L. Moon is a San Diego-based attorney whose practice is focused on the craft beer industry. She has been a member of the California Bar since 2008. She can be reached through email at email@example.com
or her Facebook page, Craft Beer Attorney.
Guest Tap is a new column we are trying out. Think of it as an open mic with a filter. We’ve received interest in writing for West Coaster, so here’s your shot. Shoot us 500 words with art on a topic you are knowledgeable about related to the San Diego Craft Beer Community. Understand that it may be edited ruthlessly. Controversy welcome. -Ed (firstname.lastname@example.org
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