Stateways Sept-Oct 2014

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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25 StateWays Q Q September/October 2014 +++++++++++++++++++++ CONTROL STATES EXECUTIVE FORUM Undercover investigations and large special events continue to keep the Enforcement division busy as it fo- cuses on over serving of patrons. This work is critical in keeping the focus on public safety. These types of opera- tions are a priority of the Liquor Control Board. 2014 Legislative Highlights S.299:AMENDED: Title 7 V.S.A. § 67 (d) (4) – (1) Allows for wholesalers to offer tastings of malt and vi- nous beverages to management and staff who have ap- plied for a first or second class license who have yet to receive the license from Liquor Control even though it was approved on the local level. It enables management of new businesses to taste products and makes menus that will facilitate an easier startup of their business while they await final approval. (2) Title 7 V.S.A. § 2 (37); "Sampler Flight" means a flight, ski, paddle, or any similar device by design or name intended to hold alcoholic beverage samples for the purpose of comparison. This change will allow licensees to offer sampler flight of malt, vinous, and spirits with a designated number of ounces for each category. (3) The Commissioner of Liquor Control shall submit a report to various legislative committees regard- ing the risks associated with powdered alcohol products. Title 7 V.S.A. § 69 adds penalties for possessing pow- dered alcohol and for selling powdered alcohol products. The report is due Jan 15, 2015. The Commissioner of Liquor Control is part of a taskforce looking at the taxation and regulation of mari- juana in our state. A report is due to the Legislature in January 2015. Rand Corporation is working with the Ad- ministration to accomplish this task. In summary, the Department is very excited about the upcoming year and is prepared to tackle all the important issues that present themselves as part of a growing industry. VIRGINIA Jeff Painter Chairman, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control T he Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) celebrated its 80th anniversary in fiscal year 2014 and marked a year of milestones that promise an even brighter future for the agency. The celebratory year offered many highlights, including the opening of Virginia's first premier ABC stores in Williamsburg and Leesburg. Incorporating innovative retail space planning tech- niques, energy efficient lighting, a permanent tasting area, fine cabinetry, wall treatments and product displays, the new stores also feature a design theme reflective of the unique characteristics of each of the store's locations. In Williamsburg, for example, a reproduction vintage copper still is evocative of Virginia's history of moonshine produc- tion. The still appears to have had its own impact on sales at the premier store, which experienced a nearly 50 per- cent boost in licensed moonshine revenues in its first three months over the same period the previous year. Virginia ABC has plans for a third premier location opening later this fall in Virginia Beach. The new retail initiative underscores a commitment to providing excel- lent customer service and is representative of Virginia ABC's growing retail division, which added seven stores and remodeled 19 during the last fiscal year. Strong Fiscal Growth Fiscal year 2014 also marked Virginia ABC's 16th con- secutive record-breaking year in sales and profits. Total gross sales were $801 million, $32 million higher than last year. Profits were $140 million, an increase of $6 mil- lion from the previous fiscal year. Retail sales ended the year up 4.7 percent and sales to mixed beverage licensees were up 1.6 percent. While Virginia ABC's hearings and appeals process con- tinues to provide a consistently effective means for the agency to address licensee violations; contested applications for ABC licenses; and matters involving the Beer and Wine Franchise Act, a promising new mediation process, called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has thus far produced excellent results. The voluntary process offers disputing parties the op- portunity to meet with an impartial mediator who facilitates confidential discussions to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution of their dispute. Virginia ABC's new Field Support Vehicle (FSV), pur- chased during fiscal year 2013 with asset forfeiture funds, has expanded its reach as a satellite enforcement com- mand post to include educational outreach. In a partner- ship with ABC's education and prevention section, the FSV has begun visiting college campuses, community events and festivals to distribute vital educational materi- als on the dangers of alcohol misuse. Launched in spring 2014, the FSV has made four appearances, with many more scheduled in the coming year. Virginia ABC also received final approval for regulatory changes, the most notable of which—for both licensees and customers—permits restaurants to promote happy hour. Ef- fective January 29, restaurants were able to publicize happy hour and the time span of their drink specials in any medium, including print and broadcast advertising, social media and

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