Lawyers on Tap

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Labels – It’s Not just the TTB that’s watching

As purveyors of beverages containing alcohol, most craft brewers, distillers and wineries are aware of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax And Trade Bureau (“TTB”) rules for labels, and the sometimes onerous task involved in getting those labels approved.  To avoid extra expenses and delays, those who are not aware...
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Leading the Pack: One Brewery's Leave Policies Are Pawsitively Unique

We talk a lot about the parameters of leave programs.  New state laws that are popping up regularly that expand on employee leave rights.  While we focus on the legal aspects of all leave laws, we do recognize the importance of having leave policies that work for the culture...
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How Big is the Bite for Failing to Accommodate Service Animals?

Multiple New England breweries in the last week have made the difficult decision to no longer permit four-legged friends within tasting rooms.  This article provides absolutely no opinion on those decisions—they are difficult decisions that are personal to the breweries.  If, however, you own, manage, or are simply employed...
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PODCAST: What’s Brewing in Real Estate Development – An Interview with Chris Thompson

In this episode of Verrill Voices: What's Brewing in Real Estate Development, Spencer Thibodeau interviews Chris Thompson, one of the real estate developers involved in the Thompson's Point development in Portland, Maine. Spencer and Chris discuss the history of the ongoing Thompson's Point development project and what may lie...
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Build, Protect & Grow Your Brand

With the craft beer industry continuing to gain momentum, it becomes increasingly more difficult to come up with creative and unique beer and brewery names, as well as to ensure your recipes, people and logos remain your own. In an article for Craft Brewing Business , Verrill Dana attorney...
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Managing Risk in the Craft Brewing Industry

In a presentation for The Risk Management Association Young Professionals Group, Austin Street Brewery Owner Will Fisher; GHM Insurance Agency’s James Sanborn; TD Bank Relationship Manager Shauna Miller; and Verrill Dana Attorney Tawny Alvarez, gathered at Austin Street Brewery on its 3 rd Anniversary to provide an overview of the...
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Hey That’s Me Drinking That Beer! UGC Rights at Issue in Beer/Photo Lawsuit

Kayla Kraft (no known relation to the cheese people) found herself on a Natural Light coaster with a fake handlebar mustache drinking a beer under the heading “Every Natty Has a Story.”  She apparently didn’t like that story and just sued Anheuser-Busch , the makers of Natural Light beer...
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A Bourbon Conundrum

The recent week-long strike at two Jim Beam facilities in Kentucky highlights a very interesting tension in the current workplace.   Workers at the Boston and Clermont, Kentucky facilities overwhelmingly rejected the second contract proposal in two weeks, stepping out on strike on October 15, 2016.  The second contract proposal...
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This Week on Tap: Alternative Minimum Tax and Craft Breweries

We all enjoy tax savings, and breweries and distilleries should be taking advantage of recent legislation that went into effect earlier this year that makes the Research and Development tax credit permanent and enhances the tax credit by not limiting the credit to Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).  Further, the...
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Join Us at Brew Talks New England 2016

Verrill Dana’s Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries Group is excited to sponsor this year’s Brew Talks New England , part of Brewbound’s traveling series of meetup events for professionals in the brewing industry, on October 24 at Jack’s Abby in Framingham, Massachusetts. The program will offer both educational and networking...
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I Wine, You Wine, We all Wine for Ice Cream . . . But Not in Massachusetts

Late last month, Massachusetts’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission issued an advisory entitled “Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (“ABCC”) Advisory to § 18 Wholesalers/Importers and § 19 Manufacturers Regarding Alcohol-Infused Ice Cream.”  The Advisory notes that Massachusetts General Law chapter 138 prohibits the importation, manufacturing, and sale of ice cream that...
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Love That Dirty Water, Baby

“I’m gonna tell you a story/I’m gonna tell you about my town/I’m gonna tell you a big fat story, baby/Aw, it’s all about my town/Yeah, down by the river/Down by the banks of the river Charles/…Well, I love that dirty water/Oh, Boston, you’re my home/ The Standells, with those...
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On Tap For Yuengling, Clean Water Act Penalties

Wastewater disposal for large breweries, mid-sized establishments, and even small craft brewers, remains a significant environmental and economic challenge. Recently, the oldest brewery in America received an unpleasant reminder of this fact. D.G. Yuengling and Sons, Inc. was issued a complaint from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleging...
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Age May Be Good For Wine . . . But Antiquated Liquor Laws Are Helping No One

To say that alcohol laws are antiquated is an understatement, but there’s only one thing we can do about it—go to our legislators and change them. That is exactly what Massachusetts business-owners are doing. On Tuesday, two modest changes to Massachusetts alcohol laws were presented to the House of...
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OSHA Penalties May Cause Craft-Industry to Say O SH**

Late last week, while everyone was focused on the summer holiday, the Department of Labor announced that pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvement Act, OSHA’s maximum penalties, which have not been raised since 1990, will increase by 78 percent. This will increase the “serious”, “other-than-serious&rdquo...
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Funding Your “Pipe” Dream – Crowdfunding in the Craft Brewing Scene

In a story drawn from the dreams of a back-packing college student, the Associated Press reports that Belgian brewery owner Xavier Vanneste used crowdfunding to help finance development of a two-mile pipeline to pump thousands of gallons of beer each day from his brewery in historic Bruges, Belgium to...
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Want to Operate a Tasting Room? You'll Need to Pay Up First.

The Portland City Council voted on Monday to require Portland breweries to pay a $500 fee to operate their tasting rooms. According to the Portland Press Herald article linked below, Councilor Suslovic believes the city has a legitimate public safety concern in regulating tasting rooms. The vote is likely...
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Will Mass. Pay to Play Scandal Affect Maine Brewers?

A ruling involving the business practices of a Massachusetts-based beer distributor may keep Maine-brewed beers out of bars, restaurants and other retailers for 90 days. On Friday, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission suspended the Craft Brewers Guild’s license for 90 days for engaging in a scheme in which...
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Portland to Beer Drinkers: Get Your Snack On

Now that’s what we’re talkin bout . Reversing one of the worst decisions of all time , officials in beer Mecca Portland, Maine , (known principally as the home to this humble blog), will now allow breweries located in the City’s industrial zones to sell prepackaged food at their...
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Nuts and Bolts of Registering Your Brewery Name

We have previously covered the process for developing your brewery/distillery/winery’s name , including the essential step of clearance. Once you have found and cleared the perfect name, the next step is to protect it. The best way to protect your name is by registering it as a trademark with...
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Selecting Your Company's Name

Like anyone who has ever been a child 1 , I always wanted to have a cool nickname. Unfortunately, according to the unwritten rules of coolness, you can never give yourself a nickname. Luckily those interested in starting an alcoholic beverage business of your own, one of the key...
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More Recognition for Maine's Breweries

The Bangor Daily News reports that Maine’s largest city, Portland, has just been recognized by the SmartAsset website as the top city in the United States for beer drinkers.  http://hashtagmaine.bangordailynews.com/2015/12/28/reddit/portland-ranks-as-the-best-city-in-the-country-for-beer-drinkers-according-to-this-website/ And congratulations to the honorees of the “Maine’s Favorite Beers Poll”conducted by Beer This Week (TM symbol) http://www.beerthisweek.com/maines-top-25-beers-2015/ And...
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Livers Quake in Anticipation of Maine Liquor Price Changes

Listen up booze enthusiasts 1 : Maine is adjusting how it determines its cut of liquor sales, which will result in price changes on February 1 for a number of products. A story by Darren Fishell of the Bangor Daily News contains the lowdown, along with some pretty cool...
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Deceptive Marketing Lawsuits Against Alcoholic Beverage Industry on the Rise

The number of lawsuits against alcoholic beverage manufacturers for alleged deceptive marketing grew again this past December, with both Guinness and Foster’s Beer facing new lawsuits in federal court. In Massachusetts, a consumer filed suit against Guinness alleging that the company improperly advertised that “all Extra Stout sold in...
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‘Tis the Season for Internship Nightmares

With college exams finalized we hear from many companies that bring on college interns for a few weeks in late December and early January. It provides clients with help to catch up on things that slipped through the cracks during the course of the year and provides the intern...
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Choosing the Right Corporate Structure

Welcome to Lawyers on Tap , a blog dedicated to keeping you up to date with the legal issues facing the craft beverage industry. As this is the first blog post, let me open by saying, hello from Verrill Dana. Our firm has been assisting those in the craft...
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