Nevada’s Attorney General, Catherine Mastro, sent out an open letter to alcohol beverage retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. The TTB settlement of just two years ago should still be fresh in the industry’s mind, but this open letter eliminates the grey area and lists 14 requirements that all the tiers must follow: – No Loans from Wholesaler to Retailer – No investments by Wholesaler in Retailer – No complementary furnishings from Wholesaler to Retailer – No Joint Operation of a Retailer’s Business – Adherence to strict payment terms – No Substitution of Brands – No Boycotts of Other Suppliers – No Resale Price Maintenance – Profit Splitting – No Delivery of Unwanted or Unnecessary Inventory – No excessive or Unauthorized Ads or Promos at Wholesaler’s Expense – Strict Adherence to Product Price – No Discrimination among Wholesalers – Deceptive Trade Practices Here is a link to the full letter:

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Currently, Florida law requires retailers to operate a separate store if they want to sell spirits. At Costco and Publix, for instance, there are liquor stores adjacent to the markets with a separate entrance. Beer and wine, meanwhile, is sold inside the market. Bills now in the Florida House and Senate (HB 877, SB 804) may undo that requirement. “It’s common sense,” said Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness. “There’s just no reason to have a dividing wall. It’s an outdated regulation.” There are still plenty of safeguards against minors getting alcohol without placing a “wall of concrete” in front of responsible adults who can legally buy it, he added. Ellen Snelling, chairwoman of the Tampa Alcohol Coalition and the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance, said “the liquor stores are smaller, more insulated locations than grocery stores,” so “the best way to restrict access to underage customers,” which is of “primary concern.” Wal-Mart spokesman Bill Wertz said Florida customers have complained about the requirement of buying spirits in a separate location. Wal-Mart’s “goal is to provide customers with the products they want and need at affordable prices, including alcoholic beverages.”

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The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a trademark dispute over Stolichnaya vodka. The lower court’s decision remains, which held that a Russian state-owned company lacked standing to challenge use of the mark in the U.S. As reported by Law 360, Federal Treasury Enterprise Sojuzplodoimport (“FTE”), “a government company that under Russian law has some authority over the vodka’s trademark, first sued Spirits International BV, Allied Domecq International Holdings BV and William Grant & Sons Inc. in 2004, arguing that the companies, which began using the Stolichnaya trademark after the collapse of the Soviet Union, did not have rights to the mark because its privatization had not been legal under Russian law.” U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels found FTE did not meet the criteria under U.S. law to serve as the “assign” or “legal representative” of Russian Federation, the “Stolichnaya” mark’s real owner.

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