July 13

7th Circuit: Indiana’s Wacky Prohibition of Distributors Selling Both Beer and Spirits Has Rational Basis: Increased Cost to Consumers

You might not believe it unless you look like this: But Indiana’s current bar against beer wholesalers selling liquor or liquor wholesalers selling beer was just held constitutional because the state claims its “rational basis” was the increase of pricing to stem alcohol consumption. In Monarch Beverage Co., Inc. v. David Cook et al., Monarch […]

July 10

6th Circuit Slams Distributor’s Attempt to Transfer Craft Beer Brands Without Brewer’s Consent

It’s a fairly typical clause in most distribution agreements, if not specifically stated in most state beer franchise laws – a promise that your distributor won’t transfer the franchise or the business (you want both and you’ll see why in a second) absent the brewer’s consent (which will not be “unreasonably” withheld).   The 6th Circuit […]

June 23

Come Check Out the Illinois Craft Brewers Conference – June 26th and 27th

Come on out to the Illinois Craft Brewer’s Conference on June 26th and 27th for two great days of education and information on brewing and related issues.  I’ll be presenting with a great group of other experts on topics of interest.  http://illinoisbeer.org/conference

May 11

Dissent In Texas Three-Tier Case Contains Powerful Indictment Of Strict Enforcement Of Cross-Tier Ownership

As you all probably have heard, in Cadena Commercial v. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Texas Supreme Court recently weighed in on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s decision to deny a license for retail sales to a group of convenience stores that wanted to sell alcohol because through a chain of ownership, one of the […]

May 04

Oral Argument Audio Available in Craft Brewers’ Franchise Dispute Over Distribution Termination In Ohio

The Sixth Circuit held the oral argument yesterday in the dispute between Southern Glazer’s and two craft brewers (Great Lakes Brewing and Boston Beer Company) looking to terminate their distribution relationship.   You can listen to the argument here: We’ve written about this case a few times here and here noting that it is an […]

May 03

Nevada Case Questions How Egregious Distributor Behavior Has To Be To Amount To Good Cause For Termination of Franchise Rights

Franchise laws enslaving brewers to distributors often have vaguely worded “good cause” terms allowing a brewer to terminate a relationship when this beneficently named justification exists. A frequent criticism of these statutes is that when a distributor has acted in a fashion that would allow for termination under regular contract principles, these laws force brewers […]

April 28

Will Lee v. Tam End The TTB’s Censorship of Beer Wine and Spirits Labels Found Obscene or Indecent?

As the US awaits a verdict in Lee v. Tam – a trademark dispute challenging a section of the trademark act (15 U.S.C. 1052(a)) refusing trademark registration for marks that are deemed immoral or scandalous, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s implementation and application of those restrictions – it would benefit us to be […]

April 24

Millercoors Wins “Not From Australia” Lawsuit Over Claims That Foster’s Marketing Misleads Drinkers

In one of latest wins for brewers against deceptive labeling lawsuits brought against domestically made beers over branding that arguably conveys they are imported, Millercoors has scored a win for its Foster’s brand against a putative class action looking to cash in against the company.  The lawsuit (you can read the amended complaint here) alleged that […]