Celebrity chef Mario Batali will temporarily close the wine store at his Italian market, Eataly, for six months and pay a $500,000 fine to the New York State Liquor Authority (“SLA”) as part of a settlement with the SLA. Some of Batali’s business partners in this and other SLA licensed locations also own an interest in an Italian winery. It is a tied house violation when a manufacturer owns an interest in a retailer.  

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I. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) announced it will publish a final rule in the Federal Register amending the regulations in 27 CFR part 73 to allow industry members to submit certain forms electronically rather than submitting originals. Original forms and other records must still be retained by the industry member. This amendment now allows applying for permits to be done completely electronically. II. TTB is also amending its regulations in 27 CFR part 19 governing the records that DSPs must keep of finished products. Specifically, TTB is removing the requirement that DSP proprietors keep a daily summary record of the kind of distilled spirits bottled or packaged. III. TTB is also amending the regulations in 27 CFR parts 26 and 27 regarding closures that must be affixed to containers of imported distilled spirits products and those brought in from Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. The amendments remove a requirement that a part of the closure remain attached to the container when opened. This amendment aligns the regulations for these products with those applicable to domestic distilled spirits products. Enter Docket No. TTB-2014-0004 at the “” website ( to view the changes in their entirety. The changes take effect April 28, 2014.

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The TTB ‘s Alcohol Beverage Sampling Program is TTB’s survey of products in the marketplace. In short, the TTB purchases product from retailers and tests them to be sure the products inside the bottles match the claims displayed on the labels. The results of the sampling program over the past few years, according to TTB, “show that proofing and gauging of distilled spirits is a problem area for some industry members.” The TTB adds, “because the excise tax for distilled spirits is based on alcohol content, proper gauging of distilled spirits is a vital factor in proper tax determination.” To be sure you are in compliance, review the gauging manual found in 27 CFR part 30 and the official methods used by TTB Scientific Services Division. Here is a link to the 2013 survey:  

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