With only a couple weeks left in the Supreme Court’s 2018-2019 term left, and still no ruling in the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Ass’n v. Thomas case, a lot of anxious attention is being paid by the beverage alcohol industry. A decision in this case, immediately about residency requirements for liquor retailers but more broadly hitting on critical questions about the right of states to discriminate against out-of-state liquor interests, is imminent — and indeed may be out already by the time the Roundup is published! We will be providing our own fresh takes on what the Court rules — whether it will upset the beverage alcohol industry as we know it, or if things will remain more or less the same — so make sure to tune into our blog.
For this week’s Roundup, we look first at Connecticut, which just passed a statute opening the state to direct-to-consumer shipments of wine from retailers nationwide; then we hear about how eCommerce provides the best opportunity for growth by wineries looking to expand their direct-to-consumer operations; and finally, why consumers’ drive for a tasting room experience may be waning, but that doesn’t mean there’s any less interest in a wine country vacation.
In case you haven’t heard, the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report has been published. Download your copy today here.
Thanks for reading the Roundup this week. As ever, be sure to check out the rest of the ShipCompliant by Sovos blog for regular updates, and we’ll see you again in another couple of weeks.
Regulatory News and Discussions
TTB Newsletter | This week’s top news includes that soon COLAs Online will include a new application status called “Conditionally Approved,” we have open job postings for auditors and an attorney advisor, and a criminal case TTB participated in has resulted in a guilty plea. TTB
Connecticut Will Permit Direct Shipping of Wine by Retailers in July | Retailers looking to make DtC shipments of wine to Connecticut consumers will have to comply with the same regulations that have long applied to wineries. ShipCompliant by Sovos
Beer, Wine Coalition Presses Congress to Act on Permanent Federal Excise Tax Relief | One provision in the 2017 tax overhaul has slashed federal excise taxes for the craft beer, wine and distilling sectors, ut the excise tax relief will sunset at the end of this year unless Congress extends it. CNBC
Carriers Stymie State Shipping Changes | Florida and Connecticut have removed barriers to out-of-state retailers but the shipping companies don’t seem to be listening. Wine-searcher.com
Potential Changes in U.S. Spirits Sizes Draw Mixed Reactions | While the Treasury Department’s Tax & Trade Bureau has not yet officially published a proposed regulatory change to eliminate most requirements on bottle sizes for distilled spirits, the very idea is beginning to generate some controversy. Whisky Cast
Panel Adopts Emergency Rules For Controversial Liquor Bill | The Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission on Wednesday approved emergency rules to implement a controversial new law governing the distribution of liquor. Tulsa World
Wine Retailers Cross Fingers Over Soon-to-Come Supreme Court Ruling | Soon—very soon—the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision regarding an appeal of Byrd v. Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association et al heard by the Court in January 2019. Forbes
Industry Updates: Market Conditions and Developments
ShipCompliant by Sovos Wine Summit 2019 | More than 300 customers, partners and industry luminaries joined us at this year’s ShipCompliant by Sovos annual Wine Summit in Napa. ShipCompliant by Sovos
New WineDirect Report Reveals Ecommerce as Largest Opportunity for DTC Wine Sales | Ecommerce sales have high average order value (AOV), yet they represent the smallest share of orders across all sales channels. Wine Business
Slowing Sales Force Wineries to Review Market Position | Since domestic shipments show little growth, and export options are limited by a fractious trade environment, wineries have to be selective about where they’re going to sell products, and how they’re being positioned against competitors. Wine Business
Association Urges Support For American Single Malt Definition | The American Single Malt Whiskey Commission is calling on industry members to pledge their support for a ‘standard identity’ for the category ahead of the finalisation of new US spirits labelling laws. The Spirits Business
How Much Americans Spend on Wine, What They Buy, In What Container — and More | According to the latest Wine Vines Analytics/Nielsen stats, from March 2018-March 2019 American consumers spent $14.4 billion on wine. Forbes
TTB Protocols, Procedures, and Investigations | Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about TTB Investigations but Are Afraid to Ask: What Happens When the TTB Investigators Lie? What Happens When You Lie? How Can a Runaway Investigation Without a Purpose be Stopped? Booze Rules
We Drink Basically the Same Wine Varietals As Ancient Romans, and That’s Not So Great | According to a new study in Nature Plants published Monday, many of the most popular wine varietals sold today are extremely genetically similar to the wines that ancient Romans drank. NPR
The Wine Country Tasting Room Is Dead. But Long Live Wine Country | Forget standing at a tasting bar. A trip to California’s wine country today means comedy shows, art museums, cabanas at pool parties, and interactive dinners—all with a glass in hand. Fortune
The Inexorable Rise of Wine Prices | Inflation is a fact of life, but the relentless increase in the price of wine is startling. Wine-searcher.com
Consumers Clearly Prefer Smaller Sizes of Wine-in-a-Can. Ask TTB to Allow 250mL Single-Size | Recent research by WICresearch.com which involved a survey of 1,700 respondents reveals that 79% of consumers prefer smaller sizes of wine-in-a-can. Wine Industry Advisor