Beer Industry Update: One Key Takeaway from the 2019 Craft Brewers Conference

TTB Enforcement Steadily Increasing

Each year, the Brewers Association hosts the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) and BrewExpo America, an industry event serving brewers, brewpubs, and packaging breweries of all sizes. More than 14,000 industry professionals gathered in Denver to attend dozens of educational seminars and keynote presentations.

A key takeaway from the CBC was the noted increase in enforcement actions from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The TTB, through its Trade Investigations Division, seeks to ensure industry compliance with the laws and regulations that the TTB administers. With increased budgets, these investigations and enforcement actions have been steadily increasing.

TTB enforcement actions are taken to resolve violations of alcohol and tobacco laws and can include: offers in compromise, basic permit suspension or voluntary surrender of a permit by an industry member. In 2018, the TTB accepted 30 offers in compromise compared to just 12 in each of 2016 and 2017. In 2019, 5 offers in compromise have already been reached as of this publication. Suspensions in 2018 were numbered at 10, with 2 already enforced in 2019.

The TTB has kept a keen eye out for the following items, which those in the alcoholic beverage manufacture, wholesale, and retail businesses should make note of (the majority of recent compliance violations have been in these categories):

  1. Failure to report, file, and pay required monthly and yearly excise taxes;
  2. Inappropriate removal of alcohol from premises;
  3. Use of third parties to provide money or items of value to retailers in return for increased placement of alcoholic beverages; and
  4. Various permit violations, including operating without the proper license, failure to file change of control, and import violations.

Save the Date: CBC 2020 is coming to San Antonio April 19-22. We hope to see you there!

For more information about beverage alcohol industry and related laws and regulations, please contact Sherman & Howard regulated industry attorneys Jay Leonard and Garrett Dean.

Sherman & Howard offers a complete range of legal services for breweries and wineries, including business formation, contracts and agreements, trademark search and registration, beer and wine licensing, mergers and acquisitions, and tax and financing. As members of the Brewers Association, Sherman & Howard is proud to represent breweries and wineries large and small, from inception to expansion, distribution, and maturation. Please visit us at

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