Effective March 1, 2014, the Pennslyvania Liquor Control Board announced regulatory changes that affect Limited Winery Licensees around the state. The PLCB has eliminated the requirement that prohibited in state wineries from selling bottles for less than the same wine sells for at the state operated Wine and Spirit Stores. The recent change is designed to promote in-state wineries. For more read: PLCB Changes Allow Wineries To Sell Products Below The State Sell Price.
As New Year’s Eve 2014 approaches and partygoers abound, Pennsylvania Limited Winery, Bar, and Restaurant Licensee’s are reminded to protect their licenses by remembering not to serving visibly intoxicated or underage persons. Liquor Enforcement Officers from the Pennsylvania State Police will be out and about, enforcing the Pennsylvania Liquor Code.
Both uniformed and undercover liquor enforcement officers will be making visits throughout the evening to Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Licensees to enforce compliance with the Liquor Code. Your liquor license is an asset, an investment, by which your business profits are earned. Protect what’s yours. Ring in the New Year responsibly.
For more information see: Partygoers, servers urged to celebrate safely.
For those of us in the wine industry, the government shutdown has brought the wine approval business to a halt. Federal approval for new wineries and/or wine labels is handled by the Federal Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). For purposes of the government shutdown, the TTB has been deemed non-essential. The Federal Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is not processing COLAs, new wine application permits, label approvals, or importation of wine in bond. Approximately 800,000 of the two million U.S. federal employees have been furloughed.
The suspension of the TTB’s regulatory functions means all reviews of alcohol beverage label permits, formulas are suspended until such time funding is reinstated. This means that many Pennsylvania wineries will not be able to sell their wines until the shutdown ends and their applications can be processed. The legal documents required to bottle and sell the wine has come to a halt, hence having severe financial impact to many of the State’s wineries.
The TTB has posted an Appropriations Lapse Notice. Once government services resume, a horrendous backlog for application processing is anticipated as we are now approaching Day 14 of the shutdown.
One of the most difficult factors to comply with when forming a Limited Liability Corporations (LLC) is to remember that you and your business are not the same. This is especially significant for LLC’s that have a single member or handful of members.
As the LLC owner, you are distinguishable now as the Agent of the LLC. Thus, when signing contracts and other business documents, you should do so on behalf of the LLC and not as an individual. This can sometimes be difficult to remember if you have grown out of your role as Sole Proprietor or Partnership, and have transitioned into a LLC.
In order to maintain the maximum protection of personal liability that your LLC provides, you will want to maintain this important legal distinction. Failure to do so may put you into a position where a judge may determine that you are personally liable for the debts of your restaurant, winery, or wine based based hospitality business. Adherence to this best practice will help to shield the members of the LLC.
Forming the habit of maintaining best business practices will ensure the success your hospitality business.
Now that summertime is here, your Winery, Restaurant, Wine Business or Bed and Breakfast may permit using your facility for events such as festivals, weddings, outdoor jazz concerts and other events that attract customers to your venue and promote goodwill in your community.
When working with event planners you’ll need to remember to have a carefully prepared Agreement that will protect your risks and liabilities for the event.
A brief look at things you’ll want to consider:
**Outline the premises and facilities that the other party participating with you will be authorize to use. You may desire to restrict certain areas of your property.
**Identify the purpose of your agreement, the parties involved, and the duration of the agreement. Allow yourself a provision that gives you the power to terminate the agreement if necessary.
**Detail the necessary payments, deposits and schedule for which they are to be paid.
**Be clear about which party is responsible for particular services and amenities (food, beverages, security, entertainment, lighting, janitorial clean-up.)
**State which party will be responsible for event permits and licensing.
**Identify who will be responsible for monitoring alchohol consumption of the guests. Make sure the alcohol servers are RAMP trained so they may prevent underage service, excessive consumption and intoxicated guests from driving.
**Allow yourself a provision to be compensated for premise damages that may be incurred during such events.
**Have your legal counsel prepare and/or review your written Agreement prior to the execution by each party.
And by all means enjoy your summertime events!
New Jersey State Officials are now investigation complaints about mis-labeled drinks used to scam bar and restaurant liquor customers. Samples taken indicate that the liquor sold was not the brand ordered. Dishonest practices used to increase profits have certainly put the owner’s liquor licenses up for suspension and or revocation as per the state’s Alcohol Beverage Commission. For more on these despicable practices see:
Are you’re looking for a guide on American wines and those who make it? Is so you might wish to take a look at this new book by author and wine expert Janis Robinson. Janice takes a look at American winemakers in all fifty states. For more:
Governor Tom Corbett (R) is expected to unveiled his plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s state liquor stores. The Governor proposes one stop shopping by allowing consumers to purchase wine and beer at grocery stores or big box store. The plan anticipates that prices would be driven down and calls for the auctioning off of some 1200 liquor licenses and the closure of some 600 stores. The Governor’s plan would have to be approved by the State’s Legislature. For more:
View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.
The promotion of alcohol brands through the use of internet and social media has caught the eye of the Federal Trade Commission. Wineries, brewers and distillers are under fire by critics for not doing enough to protect its underage viewers. The Federal Trade Commission, empowered to protect consumers from deceptive practices, intends to conduct a study focused on the issues related to underage exposure. For more information read Reuters: FTC Study Taking Aim At Online Marketing of Booze and Kids.
Every year when the New Year rolls around I’m reminded of the folks that have approached my practice at the beginning of every year to discuss their desire to open their own winery, restaurant, or other wine based business. We typically discuss how to best proceed in their mission. I listen respectfully as they share their dreams and passions. We talk about the hard work, the diligence and the finanacial committment that will be necessary to fulfill their dreams. Some of these entrepreneurs to be, discover that they more romantic hobbyists than entrepreneur, abandoning the dream along the way. Others non-committers speak their dreams out loud, failing to act, while watching at a distance as others take their dreams and implement the very dream they thought they once had but for their own failure to act.
When the dust settles and clears, what I’ve learned is that the difference between those that “talk the talk” and those that “walk the walk “ comes right down to the “doers”.
The “doers have a dream that they hold on to very tightly. “Doers keep their visions and plans to themselves so as to limit the negative feedback from those who would discourage them, identifying barriers or reinforcing negative thoughts their dreams can’t be accomplished. The “doer’s work diligently when no one is looking, often without pats on the backs, or ego’s stroked, perservering with their vision and goals. The “doer’s stay committed to their fulfilling their dreams of opening that new tasting room, restaurant, bed and breakfast or wine based business.
As the new year of 2013 unfolds, who will you be? Will you stay true to your dream of beginning the new path towards entrepreneurship. Perhaps your dream is to finally act on that expansion that you’ve been planning for years. Or maybe, this is the time to pursue that new acquisition. Might this be your year to build a new business? Whatever the case, if it is your dream, now is the time to act. Now is the time to do. Don’t let others derail what you know in your heart and mind is your dream path to follow.
Be a “Doer” in 2013. This is your time. This is your moment. Live your dream.
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Attorney at Law
668 Stony Hill Road Suite 339
Yardley, Pennsylvania 19067
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