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Cal ABC Issues Rules for Internet Marketing for Wineries & Retailers

In a move that was being fairly widely applauded by industry groups in California, the California Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has issued an advisory today that sets out plain language rules for wineries and retailers who wish to use third party marketing companies to help them sell their wine, particularly on the internet. This issue had become contentious and had caused a great deal of confusion after the ABC issued an earlier advisory that cast doubt on the legality of such marketing without providing firm guidelines. The new advisory confirms that this type of marketing is legal so long as it is properly structured with the major requirement being that the licensee must maintain control over the selection, pricing and sales transactions. The story is here: New Advisory Explains How Internet Businesses Can Properly Promote Alcoholic Beverage Sales. There is also a short legal commentary from Napa law firm, Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty here: California ABC Reverses Position on Third-Party Providers Following Industry Input. The actual advisory is here: Industry Advisory – Third Party Providers. This issue is directly relevant to wineries in British Columbia where the legal issues are very similar.

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