BevAlc Roundup | Utah to Allow “Wine Club” Sales, Coronavirus Closures, and the SVB DTC Survey is Open

Alex Koral | March 17, 2020

The coronavirus has moved from being a panic to a pandemic over the last few weeks, leading to mass closures and social distancing, and capturing all of our attention. The news is replete with stories of cancelled events and ways to cope with the reality of a modern plague. Heavily dependent on tourism and entertainment, the beverage alcohol industry has also been caught up with coronavirus news, with everyone trying to determine how best to respond to the crisis and mitigate damaging effects.

If you’re staying inside this week (and we hope you’re keeping safe!), we still have the Roundup for you. This week, a highly anticipated lawsuit regarding DtC shipping of wine by out-of-state retailers in Michigan was heard by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Then, how coronavirus is affecting the beverage alcohol industry, and predictions of an upcoming bourbon barrel shortage.

One of the main effects of the coronavirus scare is the cancellation of many prominent events. As such, we have decided to postpone our Beverage Alcohol Summit; but pay attention for future announcements including a makeup date when that has been set. Our annual Wine Summit is currently still scheduled for May 28 in Napa, though this is subject to change as the situation develops. To find more information on and register for the Wine Summit, look on our website

And in case you haven’t heard, the 2020 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report is available for download! Get your free copy of the report here.

Thanks for reading the Roundup this week. As ever, be sure to check out the rest of the Sovos ShipCompliant blog for regular updates, and we’ll see you again in another couple of weeks.

Regulatory News and Discussions

TTB Newsletter | This week’s top news includes COVID-19 related topics, as well as the publication of our 2019 annual report. TTB

Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipments Debated at Sixth Circuit | Michigan argued before the Sixth Circuit on Thursday that a law preventing out-of-state wine merchants from making direct shipments to its residents does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause. Court House News

Arizona Bill Would Eliminate Production Caps on Self Distribution | A state bill in Arizona seeks to spur the local wine industry by removing annual production caps imposed on wineries that self-distribute. Wine Business

Bill to Allow Shipment of Alcohol to Your Door Passes Through House Committee | House Bill 415, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, would allow producers to ship wine, spirits, and beer to consumers. Kentucky Chamber

The Utah State Legislature Has Approved “Wine of the Month” Clubs (and Some Light Bootlegging) | A bill that allows wine subscriptions has passed the Utah State Legislature. FOX 13 SLC


Industry Updates: Market Conditions and Developments — Coronavirus Focus

Pandemic a Double-Edged Sword for Wine | It would be easy to take a dark view of wine’s various crises, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

Gavin Newsom Calls for Closure of Tasting Rooms and Other “Non-Essential” Establishments  | Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday called for the closure of tasting rooms and other “non-essential” establishments as part of a statewide effort to curb the spread of Covid-19. Wine Business

Selling Wine in a Pandemic | Your job as a winery is to figure out how you can get your consumers to realize you are open for business, and show them the options they have that will make it easy to get your wine to them – even during a pandemic. SVB on Wine

Coronavirus Has Whisky Lovers Facing Bans on Distillery Tours & Festivals | As the impact of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic spreads, more whisky events are being cancelled or postponed and the list of distilleries temporarily halting public tours and closing visitors centers is growing – with more expected in the coming days. Whisky Cast


The Annual SVB Direct to Consumer Survey is Open | The survey is now open and will close March 20th at which point SVB will contribute substantial time and resources to analyze the data, turning it into relevant information for the wine community. SVB on Wine

Is There a Bourbon Barrel Shortage on the Horizon? | We chatted with loggers, wood scientists, and mills to see if the supply of barrels can keep up with bourbon demand. The Daily Beast

Researchers Grapple With Grape Vine Disease | UC develops new varieties resistant to Pierce’s disease, but red blotch, other pests and viruses remain a concern. Western Farm Press