According to Barclays, spirits sales increased for the third consecutive month, to +7.0% from +5.8% in the prior 4 weeks. “On a 12-week basis, industry growth improved to +6.4% from +5.5% in the prior 12 weeks.” Bourbon (+14.1% up from +12.3% last month) and Canadian Whiskey (+16.3% versus +13.0% last month) are both way up. Meanwhile, vodka sales increased just +5.1%; Gin +2.3%; Rum +2.0%; Cordials +2.0%; Tequila +0.8%, Ready-to-Drink -7.6%.      

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A new bill in Florida being proposed will repeal the prohibition against beer tastings at off-premise establishments, like Costco and Publix, where beer is obviously sold. Florida craft brewers are permitted to have a tasting room next to their brewhouses, but permitting beer tastings at off-premise retailers will no doubt increase sales. Just like the consumer sampling rules for liquor, the new bill–as proposed at the moment–applies only to distributors and retailers and not to manufacturers. The Florida Beer Wholesalers Association would also like beer makers themselves to be allowed to put on tastings, a practice permissible in most states, so stay tuned as many changes are likely to be proposed before this is signed into law. Here is the current liquor tasting regulation: “A licensed distributor of spirituous beverages, or any vendor, is authorized to conduct spirituous beverage tastings upon any licensed premises authorized to sell spirituous beverages by package or for consumption on premises without being in violation of s. 561.42, provided that the conduct of the spirituous beverage tasting shall be limited to and directed toward the general public of the age of legal consumption. “

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California bartenders may be required to wear disposable gloves or use utensils to make drinks under a new food safety law. The California Retail Food Code went into effect at the beginning of 2014 requires chefs and all other culinary workers to wear disposable gloves or use utensils such as tongs, when handling “ready-to-eat” foods. The Code reads as follows: “Except when washing fruits and vegetables, as specified in Section 113992 or as specified in subdivisions (e) and (f), food employees shall not contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment.” The full Code can be read here:  

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