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Liquor Law Blog

Discussing liquor law and regulation issues.

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Sep 09, 2019

What Liquor Brands Should Know About Trademarks

In a recent federal court ruling, a judge articulated once again why famous brands enjoy greater rights than those that lack renown

The case pits two giants in wholly unrelated fields— clothing versus alcoholic beverages.

The lesson? Liquor sellers should exercise caution and select brand names that are not the same or are not similar to those of existing “famous” brands, even in completely unrelated fields. » Read More

Aug 01, 2019

Will Tennessee Wine Case Affect New Jersey Brewery Laws?

The recent SCOTUS decision in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas (“Tennessee Wine”) stirred things up in the alcoholic beverage industry.  As my colleague, Matthew B. Andersen, discussed, in Tennessee Wine, the Supreme Court found that Tennessee’s residency requirement to hold a liquor license was unconstitutional because it was a protectionist measure (i.e., intended to reduce competition from out-of-state businesses for the benefit of local businesses) clothed as a police power in violation of the Commerce Clause.  » Read More

Jul 09, 2019

In the News: Attorney Matt Andersen Successfully Transfers Liquor License into Whitehall Township

Matthew B. Andersen, Esquire, an attorney in the Liquor Law Practice Group, was recently successful in transferring a restaurant liquor license into Whitehall Township.  The license was obtained from the most recent Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board liquor license auction.  » Read More

Jul 03, 2019

Raise a Glass: Pennsylvania Breweries Avoid Excessive Sales Tax Under New Law

On June 28, 2019, Governor Wolf signed into law HB262, which amends the Tax Code for various reasons, but most importantly to the brewing industry, clarifies sales tax assessment for a brewery’s taproom sales to its consumers.

This journey for breweries in Pennsylvania began approximately five years ago when yours truly re-wrote a portion of the Liquor Code.  » Read More

Jul 03, 2019

In the News: New Pennsylvania Brewery Sales Tax

Theodore J. Zeller III, Esquire, a Member of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Liquor Law Practice Group, was contacted to be interviewed by multiple local media sources regarding the new brewery sales tax bulletin as general counsel to the Brewers of Pennsylvania. » Read More

Jul 01, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Tennessee Residency Requirements and Potential Pennsylvania Liquor Code Impact

Last week, the United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) issued the long-awaited decision in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas (“Tennessee Wine”).  The Tennessee Wine case was watched closely by liquor attorneys, businesses, consultants and others, as it was the first case that SCOTUS has heard since 2005 regarding constitutionality of state liquor laws.  » Read More

Jun 18, 2019

Skill Games a Real Gamble

With the recent closing of the purchase of the Sands Casino in Bethlehem by Wind Creek Hospitality for $1.3 billion, the question of the legality of video “games of skill” remains a focus and a hot topic within the Commonwealth. Many of these games are a significant source of income for many businesses, including liquor license establishments, which have been allowing them on their licensed premises since a 2014 decision in Beaver County that ruled that a video game machine manufactured by Pace-O-Matic was not a “gambling device per se.”

Since that controversial decision, the legality of these games has been an unknown gray area. » Read More

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