Beer, Wine & Distilled Spirits Law: Federal Regulation 101


Re-Broadcast on December 14, 2017

When a consumer pops open a bottle of wine or sips his favorite scotch, rarely does one consider the level of regulation the beverage has passed through in order to find its way to market and on the dinner table. Alcohol beverages, however, are subject to a web of federal, state, and even local regulations that are often arcane, unclear, and reflective of Prohibition-era attitudes. This seminar will start with a discussion of the history of alcohol beverage regulation, along with an overview of the federal agency that has primary jurisdiction to regulate alcohol beverages. Then we’ll examine the types of licenses required for industry members and classification of products, along with formulation requirements for beer, wine, and spirits. Finally, we will discuss labeling, advertising, and recent updates to federal laws, class action lawsuits, and direct shipping to consumers.

Key topics to be discussed:

•  Introduction
•  Licensing (Federal Permits)
•  Classification of Products
•  Labeling
•  Advertising
•  Hot Topics in Beer, Wine and Distilled Spirits Law

Date / Time: December 14, 2017

•  2:00 pm – 5:15 pm Eastern
•  1:00 pm – 4:15 pm Central
•  12:00 pm – 3:15 pm Mountain
•  11:00 am – 2:15 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•  Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•  On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date.


lindsey-zahnLindsey A. Zahn, Esq. is an alcohol beverage and food attorney at Lehman Beverage Law, PLLC. Ms. Zahn has previously counseled wine, beer, and spirits companies on licensing and compliance, federal and state labeling, customs regulations, supplier agreements, and advertising and promotions. She has counseled clients on a broad range of issues related to federal and state licensing, custom crush and alternating proprietorship relationships, and third party providers. Ms. Zahn has also successfully represented clients before the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in regard to petitioning the approval of new grape variety names. She is an award-winning author on wine law, publishes a leading wine law blog called On Reserve, and has traveled to over a dozen wine regions in the U.S. and Europe. Additionally, she has given talks and instructed classes on wine law throughout the country and in France. In 2014 and 2015, her blog was nominated as one of the Top 100 Legal Blogs by the ABA Journal.

She received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Before attending law school, Lindsey studied at Cornell University, where she was honored as a Hunter R. Rawlings III Presidential Research Scholar. She has a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell and a University Diploma from the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne in Transnational Wine Trade Law. Lindsey is admitted to practice in New York State.

john-messingerJohn Messinger, Esq. is an alcohol beverage attorney at Lehrman Beverage Law, PLLC. He joined the firm in 2006 as a law clerk, after working as an intern and consultant with the World Bank, Legal Operations and Policy. John primarily assists wine, beer and spirits companies with TTB labeling, formulation, licensing, advertising and taxation matters. He also assists clients with product development and state compliance matters.

John has a particular interest in craft beer and distilled spirits issues, and he is an avid small-scale brewer. He has been cited as an expert on alcohol beverage law by The New Jersey Law Journal and has given a presentation on alcohol beverage compliance issues to the American Craft Spirits Association.

John received his J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. During law school, John was active in WCL’s Student Bar Association, serving as a Senator and later as the Vice President of the Student Bar Association for the Evening Division. Before attending law school, John served as the legislative assistant to the Honorable R. Edward Houck in the Senate of Virginia. He is a 2002 graduate of Mary Washington College, with a B.A. in Political Science.

John is admitted to practice in Virginia and is a member of the Virginia State Bar Association and the Brewer’s Association.

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Accreditation Policy
myLawCLE will seek credit where attending attorneys are primarily licensed for all of its live webinars and live teleconferences, except in states which allow for reciprocity (see reciprocity section below). Credit for CLE in a self-study format is sought for in most states; however, some states do not allow for CLE credit to be earned in a self-study format (see the self-study section below). Many states typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted. For many live events, credit approval is not received prior to the program. Credit hours granted are subject to approval from each state.

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On-demand CLE
myLawCLE will seek on-demand approval in all states except Virginia and Arkansas (outside reciprocal provisions stated above).

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Section I. Introduction
         a) History, Agencies and Relevant Regulations

Section II. Licensing (Federal Permits)
         a) Qualification
                  i. Who Can Apply for a Federal Basic Permit or Brewer’s Note
         b) Distilled Spirits Plants
         c) Wineries
         d) Breweries
         e) Importers and Wholesalers

Section III. Classification of Products
         a) Federal Definitions of Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits
                  i. Beer (TTB and FDA)
                  ii. Wine (TTB and FDA)
                  iii. Distilled Spirits
         b) Formulations for Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits

Section IV. Labeling and Advertising
         a) Obtaining a Federal Certificate of Label Approval (COLA)
                  i. Basic Requirements for Distilled Spirits Labels
                  ii. Basic Requirements for Beer Labels
                  iii. Basic Requirements for Wine Labels
                  iv. Submission, Review and Approval Process
                  v. Appealing Qualification or Denial
         f) General Labeling and Advertising Issues (Health Claims, Organic, Gluten Free)

Section V. Updates to Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits Law
         a) Class Action Lawsuits
         b) TTB Rulings 2015-1 and 2016-1
         c) Direct Shipping to Consumers Updates