Wisconsin SC finds “good cause” isn’t required to terminate wine distribution agreements

The Governor of Wisconsin has a partial veto power that comes from the state constitution which allows for striking portions of bills to create entirely new (and even contrary) legislation from a bill that’s presented. (Wisconsin Cons. Article V, Section 10). Apparently this power was used to such effect that in 1990 the State Constitution […]

Arguing With the Trademark Office Over Wine? – La Finca Wine Trademark Decision Provides Interesting Lessons Regarding Acceptable Source Material

The TTAB (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board) recently affirmed the decision from the USPTO refusing to register the mark “La Finca” for wines on the basis that the vintner didn’t demonstrate that the brand had acquired distinctiveness since the translation of the term is “the estate” or “the farm” which is descriptive for wines.  You […]

Wine Distributor Found Liable for Conversion of Funds After Failing to Pay the Producer

There are some interesting lessons in a recently decided wine producer/distributor dispute.  The plaintiff, Delegat’s Wine Estate Limited an New Zealand wine producer, sued American Wine Distributors, Inc., – a California based wine distributor for payment “for Delegat’s wine sold to customers in the United States in or around fourth quarter 2007”.  The amount the […]

TTB Issues a Not-So-Subtle Reminder on Tie-in Sales

Much like the tax code, almost as instantaneously as the government codifies an alcohol regulation, people start to look for ways around those regs.  And when you offer examples of your rules in practice, every so often you’re going to have to update the circulars to keep up with changing industry practices.  That’s what just happened with TTB Circular 2012-2.  An update to 2003-3, it looks like a few reminders and some new information seemed necessary to ensure both the letter and spirit of the law were being enforced.

The circular offers some interesting examples, as did 2003-3.  Restated from the previous circular, an important point concerns certain holiday mixes or brews that will be of interest to anyone offering holiday or seasonal products.  Offering them to retailers, tied to your regular product is expressly in violation of the definition for “tie-ins” under 27 CFR § 6.72:

A retailer must purchase a certain amount of regular distilled spirits, whether bottled or cased, in order to be allowed to purchase distilled spirits in a special holiday container or packaging.