Governor Kitzhaber signed the “Growler Bill” into law Thursday. The new law amends ORS chapter 471 and allows wineries, local groceries, and other retail licensees to sell wine to consumers in growlers. Wineries are increasing the use of kegs and the bill is touted by proponents as responding to changing trends and promoting sustainable packaging. This new sales structure opens up a new market for wineries and retailers but before the filling begins, licensees should confirm their new activities meet federal as well as state licensing requirements.
Stoel Rives summer associates and attorneys from the firm’s alcohol beverage group adventured into the Willamette Valley on a Saturday to visit Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Argyle, and Grand Cru Estate. At Domaine Drouhin, the group was treated to a side-by-side tasting of Oregon and French wines on the property’s newly expanded deck space, which was perfect for taking in the sun and scenery.
Then at Argyle, the group experienced a variety of Oregon wines ranging from 2001 Extended Tirage to the 25th Anniversary silver series. Ending at Grand Cru, the group toured the winery’s solar power installation and other eco-friendly features.
Upcoming Comment Deadline and Public Hearing on Washington State Liquor Control Board's Administrative Code Amendments to Implement Initiative 1183
The Washington State Liquor Control Board is proposing additional code amendments to further implement Ballot Initiative 1183. The WSLCB encourages public input and requests that initial comments be received by June 27, 2012. A public hearing will be held on the draft code amendments Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 10 am. The changes, among other things, add language to address the sale of spirits and identify the sources from which retail licensees may purchase beer, wine and spirits. The rules also add new language requiring wine distributors to sell and deliver product from their licensed premises and clarify that wine importers cannot sell to retailers.
As you may recall, WSLCB adopted emergency rules on December 7, 2011 and April 4, 2012, and adopted permanent rules on May 30, 2012 (copies can be found here). A group representing retailers has filed a petition for judicial review of these rules, arguing that WSLCB acted outside its authority in adopting these rules.
There is a proposed bill pending before the New York Senate, S2473-2011 that would require, under certain circumstances, out-of-state shipments of alcohol into New York to be stored in-state for at least 48 hours at a licensed New York storage facility before being distributed to New York retailers. This “at rest” requirement means that an out-of-state winery could no longer ship wine to a New Jersey warehouse to store the wine until the wine is distributed from the New Jersey warehouse directly to New York retailers. Rather, the out-of-state winery would need to ship directly to a New York warehouse or ship the wine to New Jersey, but the wine would then need to be shipped to a New York storage facility and remain there for at least 48 hours before it could be distributed to New York retailers. The proposed regulation would have no ramifications on the ability to ship directly to New York consumers.
The justification for the bill is to, supposedly, put New York on equal footing with other states that require “at rest” periods. The “at rest” period requirement would only be triggered if the out-of-state shipper was from a state that also had an “at rest” requirement. However, the proposal has small distributors crying foul and the industry concerned that this change could, among other possibilities, decrease the volume of wine sold in New York, impact the availability of smaller producers’ wines, and increase the price of wine.
On February 16th, Stoel Rives LLP held its 5th Annual Law of Wine Seminar at The Allison in Newberg. The seminar focused on the trends and developments in the wine industry as well as touched on issues facing the distilled spirits and brewery industries. After presenting at the seminar, three Stoel attorneys Jeremy Sacks, Reilley Keating,and Elaine Albrich ventured to McMinnville to visit Heater Allen, a small seven-barrel artisan brewery specializing in all-malt lager and other German and Czech style beers. Lisa Allen, Assistant Brewer and daughter of Owner and Brewer Rick Allen, greeted us and hosted a tour of the facility, including the area for the proposed expansion. Lisa offered us tastes of three of Heater Allen’s brews: the Pils, the Coastal and the Dunkel. In addition to tasting great beers, we learned about Heater Allen’s history, its philosophy on brewing, and its approach of marketing and distribution.
Thanks Heater Allen for a great visit!
Oregon House Bill (“HB”) 4121 expands the basis for allowing wineries to be sited on land zoned Exclusive Farm Use (“EFU”). The bill, in addition to vineyards, would allow wineries to qualify as permitted uses under ORS 215.452 if 15 or 40 acres of land was used to cultivate or produce agricultural products other than grapes that are used in winemaking, including fruits, cultivated crops and honey. Unlike Oregon HB 3280 (2011), HB 4121 does not seem to specifically expand allowances for commercial activities on EFU land. Rather, it would expand the type of land qualifying for a winery under ORS 215.452. The ramifications of this possible change, however, could lead to more activities on agricultural land. HB 4121 is scheduled before the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee for a public hearing and possible work session, today, February 14, 2012 at 1 pm.
Please join us for our 5th Annual Oregon Wine Law Seminar at the Allison Inn and Spa in Newberg, Oregon on Thursday, February 16.
Topics and panels include start-ups, trademark registration, employment, privatization of OLCC liquor sales, land use and a panel discussion on alternating premises (wine/beer/spirits). This seminar is complimentary to all industry members. Topics will apply to wineries, breweries and distilleries.
For agenda and registration visit: http://www.stoel.com/showevent.aspx?Show=9155
The State of Idaho is most infamously know for the potato but the recently reenergized Idaho Wine Commission, vintners, and wineries across the state hope to soon add Idaho Wines to the Gem State's reputation.
Idaho wines regularly net honors in regional and national competitions, and the media are increasingly taking notice. "They want something new to write about, and that's us," says Executive Director of the Idaho Wine Commission, Moya Shatz. The October issue of Sunset magazine sports a feature story headlined: "Discover new wine country: In Idaho's low-key Snake River Valley, the wine is getting seriously good."
Idaho is steadily earning a reputation for growing and producing vinifera wine grape varieties such as syrah and viognier, as well as classic varieties including merlot, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and riesling.Continue Reading...
Portland-area food cart owners are innovative, creative, and continue to contribute to Portland’s food and beverage culture. The range of food options varies greatly, but it is easy to find what you are looking for, or get updated on the recent cart happenings, with the likes of Food Carts Portland. Portland’s food cart culture has even been featured in Sunset Magazine and the New York Times.
Recently food cart owners have been exploring the possibility of serving alcoholic beverages to complement your burrito, panuchos, grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich, falafel, or whatever else you may be enjoying. A limited few are already serving up beer and wine. For example, Pizza Depokos at North Station has a limited on-premises license to serve beer and wine, and Captured by Porches Brewing Co. appears to be serving beer out of a mobile bus under its existing brewery license, as described in an OregonLive.com article. However, whether we will see more food carts serving up beer or wine depends on whether a cart owner can convince the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) that it qualifies for a license under the current regulatory scheme.
The first, and probably biggest, hurdle a food cart owner has is the issue of defining the licensed premises. State law prohibits the OLCC from issuing a license to a location that does not have defined boundaries. While a licensed premises does not need to be enclosed by a wall, fence or other structure, it must have defined boundaries that are discernable. Further, state law prohibits the OLCC from licensing premises that are “mobile” unless the premises is a licensed public passenger carrier (like an airline, a railroad, or a tour boat operator). What constitutes “mobile” is up for interpretation at this point and may likely be the subject of the OLCC’s upcoming request to the Oregon Attorney General for an opinion.
Other likely licensing issues include, but of course are not limited to, minor posting, premises control, and local endorsement. These issues exist whether a food cart owner pursues a limited on-premises license, a temporary sales license, or some other privilege like a second or temporary location under another license type (i.e., brewery or winery license). In addition to these license-specific issues that an applicant must address, food cart owners must also be aware of the potential for increased site liability as well as increased regulatory scrutiny through the local endorsement process, which will trigger a compliance review of all applicable zoning, building, and health codes.
Last weekend, Stoel winery lawyers attended Salud! and enjoyed visiting with clients and friends at Domaine Drouhin on Friday afternoon and the Governor Hotel on Saturday evening. Proceeds from this year's Oregon Pinot Noir Auction topped $650,000, a reported 7 percent increase from 2009. Donations help support the Salud! mission of providing Oregon's seasonal vineyard works and their families with access to healthcare services.