We are ready to announce that our team of counsel will be joining forces with the firm of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, LLP (MNG&D). Our alliance provides the clients of Reiser Legal with affordable access to the Northwest’s most fully-equipped beverage law practice.
This combination of resources ensures that our clients don’t have to go out-of-house to seek additional legal services. This means that you will now have access to first-rate assistance in many additional areas, including securities regulation, employment relations, tax, real estate financing and leasing, import/export, and the full range of federal and state litigation.
As craft-oriented legal counsel, we have developed close relationships with each of our clients. The Reiser Legal team talked with many firms in an effort to find the best marriage of craft beverage ideals and high-quality legal services. We found those traits in Paul Havel, head of the craft beverage law division at MNG&D – and we can’t wait to introduce Paul and his team of experienced beverage attorneys.
If you are interested in working with our team, please email us or call us at 503.205.2596. We hope you are as excited as we about this new alliance!
Today’s post comes from our good friend, colleague and craft beverage taste analysis partner, Brook Bristow. Brook is an associate at the Greenville, SC firm of Bradford Neal Martin & Associates, PA and a supposedly good homebrewer (though no evidence has ever been offered). Thanks to Brook for the incredibly timely piece on brewers grain being fed to farm animals. This is a very daunting piece of legislation that stands to befuddle brewers for years to come.
If you’ve been to a brewery lately, then you may have noticed some spent grain sitting in a truck, trash can, or trailer that will soon be picked up by a farmer or taken to a farmer. Spent grain is the grain that brewers have used in the brewing process to make beer. After brewing a batch with the grain, it cannot be used again. In a way to help sustainable practices, local farmers, the environment, and sometimes even their own pocketbooks, many brewers across the country have found a nice side business of selling spent grains to local farmers for them to feed their animals. Now, not all brewers sell their spent grain. Many give it to the farmers for free.
Sounds pretty easy, right? A brewery saves on disposal costs of waste and a farmer gets food for their livestock. Well, not so fast. The Food and Drug Administration is considering a proposed rule that would establish best practices for manufacturing animal feed. It will require anyone falling within the sales number to have record keep procedures and safety plans. There is an exception for business who have feed sales between $500,000.00 and $2.5M. Wouldn’t a lot of breweries have feed sales less than $500,000.00 per year? Probably. However, a brewery with spent grains sales averaging less than $500,000.00 over the last three years would be subject to the rule. As would those over the $2.5M number.
The proposed rule even highlights this brewery practice:
“Section 116 of FSMA applies to animal food. However, the Agency is not aware of any animal food at alcoholic beverage facilities that would be exempt from section 418 of the FD&C Act under the proposed interpretation, and therefore is not aware of any animal food at alcoholic beverage facilities that would be exempt from proposed subpart C, ‘Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls,’ for animal food.For example, FDA understands that many breweries and distilleries sell spent grains, such as brewers dried grains and distillers dried grains, as animal food. Because those spent grains are not alcoholic beverages themselves, and they are not in a prepackaged form that prevents any direct human contact with the food, the Agency tentatively concludes that subpart C of this proposed rule would apply to them.”
If this rule is adopted, it would require a brewery selling spent grain to prepare and implement a written food safety plan, which would include a hazard analysis, preventative controls, monitoring procedures, corrective actions, verification activities, and record keeping. In other words, a lot more paperwork to have to worry about.
Government shutdowns are always funny talk. I always love when one party threatens it to the other and then we go back and forth with lopsided legislation until the night before the proposed shutdown. Then, everyone puts their big boy pants on and acts like a real adult and passes something that actually makes sense for everyone. Well, that is what used to happen.
Many of you might have arisen from your beds today to see gates on federal buildings. Well, dang it, that’s really annoying isn’t it? I was a bit peeved, I can admit. But nothing got me more flabbergasted than performing this small task: Click on this link to the visit the TTB Online website.
Yep, that is right, the TTB is no more. Well, not exactly. Just the websites. So before you get all excited about not needing to file for a permit, pay taxes, get label approval, let me take you back to reality. The government still wants your money, they just don’t want to provide you with useful services. Read here about their shutdown of websites only. It’s a comedy of sorts, one that will hopefully be short lived.
An astute brewing law enquirer emailed me today. His question was simple – what the hell is up with these Louisiana brewing laws? Can we produce beer higher than 6%?
I don’t blame him for asking. Unfortunately, Louisiana brewery law is about as antiquated as it gets. With only a handful of breweries to help the ATC interpret the laws, it is somewhat of a crapshoot.
But there is a good short answer that I tossed back to the reader that I thought I would share with you all. Hopefully it improves your understanding of what you can do as a brewery in Louisiana.
There are two types of brewery licenses in the State of Louisiana:
Microbrewery license holders can only sell their beer at retail (through a pub) and can only produce 6% and below. Think Crescent City Brewhouse.
Beer Manufacturers are different, and they can produce beers of 6% and above. They can also sell at wholesale through a distributor, but they can only obtain a retail license to sell 10% of their production in their own taproom. Think Abita or Parish Brewing.
To date, virtually no one has taken advantage of the ATC’s allowance of a limited retail license to sell 10% of production. I’m really not sure why. I understand that 10% might not be a lot, but it is certainly worth it to drive customers into your brewery and allow you to take advantage of the significant retail margin. Hopefully, we will see more of these soon. And better yet, we hope to see the law improve to allow more sales.