The TTB recently issued a 2016-1 Ruling “in response to complaints from a number of industry members who expressed concerns over potential abuse of the narrow Tied-House exception provided for in 27 CFR 6.99(b), which removes only the act of providing a recommended shelf plan or shelf schematic from the prohibited means to induce enumerated in 27 U.S.C. 205(b)(3).” As a result of these complaints, TTB investigated and found that “there is a misunderstanding about what activities are permitted under the § 6.99(b) exception. Ruling 2016-1 is an attempt to clarify what is and is not exempted under the exception. Now, the TTB has issued FAQs that seek to further clarify its 2016-1 Ruling. See a few examples below but see the FAQs for for more. Q: Does TTB Ruling 2016-1 prohibit industry members from acting as “category captains” or from engaging in “category management” activities? A: The terms “category management” and “category captain” are not defined in the TTB regulations and can mean different things to different industry members. TTB Ruling 2016-1 reminds the industry what is exempted by 27 CFR 6.99(b); specifically, providing a recommended shelf plan or shelf schematic, and nothing further. TTB considers additional services or things of value not specifically exempted by a subpart D exception, whether or not referenced as “category management services,” as inducements under 27 CFR 6.41 of the TTB regulations. Many of the common services given under the term “category management/category captain” may be considered things of value and, as such,…

The TTB accepted a $15,000 Offer in Compromise from Ancient Peak, Inc., a winery in Santa Margarita, California, to resolve alleged violations that it sold wine in “interstate commerce” without first obtaining required certificates of label approval (“COLAs”). In addition, the labels allegedly contained false and untrue statements. The allegations are below and can also be seen, in full, on the TTB website. If you have questions about COLA requirements or permissible statements, visit the TTB’s COLA website or send me an email. To see other Offers in Compromise, click here.

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