Sunday, April 12, 2009

News Updates

So yes I'm still alive, but with graduation approaching, final papers due, Bar applications, moving arrangements, etc. I've been pretty busy. Updates will probably be spotty for a couple months at least, certainly until after the Bar.

Ok so here's some legal and personal updates:

First up: I have registered to take the Washington State Bar Exam! We'll most likely be moving somewhere between Seattle and Tacoma after graduation. I cannot understate how excited we both are to be moving back to the Pacific Northwest.

Wine News
  • EU suspends sales of US wine using controverted terms.
This is somewhat old news but if you haven't heard the EU has finally gotten fed up with the continued American use of semi-generic terms such as 'Clos', 'Chablis' and 'Vintage'. Last September the EU sent a letter notifying the US that it would not extend the grace period granted for such terms in the 2005 Agreement between the US and the EU regarding the trade in wine. EC Regulation 113/2009 came into effect March 10th, restricting future sales of all US wines using the controverted names to the existing stock on hand. Almost certainly US trade reps are meeting with the EU to work this out as we speak. Er, I speak. Or type.
  • No wine in NY grocery stores.
A bill proposed to allow sale of wine in New York grocery stores is dead in the water. Originally it was part of a budget fund-raising move, the new license fees would have brought in millions of dollars. However, the bill was shot down by the liquor company lobby and a coalition of police, concerned parents, etc. It's another interesting example of the conflict between the ideals of the prohibition-era laws that set up the NY alcohol trade, and the entrenched power thus vested in the liquor stores. Does restricting wine (which in 1933 America was generally high-strength rotgut, compared to the "refined" table wines of today) sales to liquor stores still serve a temperance goal? Or does it just line the pockets of a protected business? Or both? A good question for any state to ponder, as I believe only 35 states or so allow wine sales in grocery stores.

Beer News
  • Redhook/Widmer take a hit
Portland's Widmer Brewing turns 25 this year, but also took a serious hit from the recession. The Portland Business Journal reports that the company created by the Redhook/Widmer merger, Craft Brewer's Aliance, lost $30 million last year. The spike in raw materials costs that hit all brewers and the economic downturn seem to be the culprits. On the bright side, they still maintain their distribution agreement with AB/In-Bev (which also owns 1/3 of the CBA) and we've begun to see their Kona brand here in Miami. Anecdotal evidence indicates that it's refreshing and delicious.
  • It's now legal to homebrew in Utah, Washington getting there.
Utah Senate Bill 187 and House Bill 51 passed, making it legal to homebrew in Utah and revamping the state's alcohol laws.

Washington State Senate Bill 5060 passed the House (90-3) and now goes back to the Senate for concurrence. The bill faced minor amendments involving wording in the House Labor and Commerce Committee. It would still allow removal of up to 20 gallons of homebrewed wine or beer, not for sale, and for private use including at events and competitions.

Beer Wars

Also a 400+ simultaneous theatre showing of the documentary Beer Wars is happening this Thursday, April 16th. I've got my tickets. Expect a review (and about a thousand others on the beer-bloggernets)

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The Twentyfirst Amendment Meets the 21st Century by Russell Hews Everett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The opinions expressed on this page are purely my own, and should not be taken to constitute legal representation or advice.