Important alcohol law preemption case headed for decision as appeal of grains of paradise lawsuit against distiller for use of state banned, but federally allowed, ingredient nears end of briefing. Bonus: we’ve got the briefs for you.
An appeal of a ruling in favor of a distiller against a consumer claiming an antiquated state food purity law trumped the TTB’s acceptance of FDA generally recognized as safe (GRAS) regulations may provide some much needed guidance for brewers, distillers, and vintners worried about state laws and standards regarding the production of beer, spirits and wine that prohibit activities allowed by Federal law or regulation.
The appeal involves a recent preemption win that Bacardi had when a consumer brought suit against Bacardi based on a 150-year-old law on Florida’s books regarding some compounds and ingredients that, prior to decent Federal regulation and at a time when little was known about such compounds, declared different substances, including grains of paradise, adulterants and banned their use in liquor.
A federal district court in Florida ruled for Bacardi finding that the FDA’s GRAS regulations preempt the Florida law and that the 21st Amendment does not save the Florida law simply because the product at issues is alcohol.
You can read our discussion of Bacardi’s win and find a link to the Miami Herald’s excellent piece on the history of the law here. You can find our brief discussion of the case and find many of the initially filed briefs here.
The plaintiff has appealed the loss and the parties are in the process of briefing the matter – with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- You can find the plaintiff’s brief here.
- Here is the appendix filed with the 11th Circuit.
- Here is an amicus brief filed in support of the plaintiffs from the Center for Food Safety and others.
- Here is Bacardi’s brief.
The reply brief is due in early July.