2015 Alcohol License Renewal Season Begins in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Revenue recently announced that existing licensees can now renew their alcohol license for 2015 via their Georgia Tax Center (GTC) account. Renewals must be completed online using the GTC before the end of the calendar year.  Wineries renewing a Manufacturer of Wine, Farm Winery or Broker license are required to submit a $5000 bond that is valid for 2015. Please note that the renewal process cannot be completed until after the bond is uploaded to the licensee’s GTC account.

Georiga DORAdditionally, any alcohol licensee that has not yet submitted a Citizenship Affidavit and copy of a Secure and Verifiable Document must provide this information at the time of renewal. For more information about how to file for renewal via your GTC account, click here.

Annie Bones, State Relations – Wine Institute

Expansion of Allowable Label Revisions by TTB Helps Industry

Last week TTB expanded the list of Allowable Revisions to Approved Alcohol Beverage Labels within the Industry Circular 2014-02. These minor changes come after a major effort last year to reduce the number of new label submissions from domestic suppliers. You can read more about the first change in this blog post. Previously approved labels with new changes that fall within the list of allowable revisions, both existing and the below additions, do not need to be approved again. This topic will also be discussed at the 1st Annual ShipCompliant Wholesale Gathering in White Plains, NY on October 16th.

You May… Comments
29. Delete or change promotional sponsorship-themed graphics, logos, artwork, dates, event locations and/or other sponsorship-related information (e.g., sports leagues, team organizations, annual sporting events, and annual or semi-annual festivals). If authorization by a third party was required for use of such promotional sponsorship-themed information on a label when first approved, it is the responsibility of the industry member to have any necessary documentation of authorization to cover the revisions to the approved label(s).
30. Add, delete, or change a label or sticker that provides information about a rating or recognition provided by an organization (e.g., “Recognized as one of the top values in vodka by x Magazine” or “Rated as the best 2012 wine by x Association”), as long as the rating or recognition reflects simply the opinion of the organization and does not make a specific substantive claim about the product or its competitors. These statements or graphics must not conflict with or qualify any mandatory information and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations.  Substantive claims about the product or its competitors are not covered by this exemption.
31. Delete all organic references from the label. If you choose to delete one organic claim on a label on which you have received approval to make organic claims, then all organic claims, references, and certification statements must be deleted on the revised label.  The deletion of individual references or certification statements is not permitted without a new COLA.
32. Change an approved sulfite statement to any of these options: “Contains Sulfites,” “Contains (a) Sulfiting Agent(s),” “Contains [name of specific sulfating agent],”“Contains Naturally Occurring and Added Sulfites,” or “Contains Naturally Occurring Sulfites.”“Sulphites” may be used in lieu of “Sulfites.” A sulfite statement is required when sulfur dioxide or a sulfiting agent is detected at a level of 10 or more parts per million, measured as total sulfur dioxide. The statement used must accurately reflect all of the sulfur dioxide or sulfiting agent(s) present in the alcohol beverage. For wine:  Any other variation of the statement or removal of the statement requires a lab analysis. For sulfite waivers, the proprietor must have proof of sample analysis from a TTB-certified laboratory or from the TTB Compliance Laboratory.
33. Add, delete, or change information about the number of bottles that were “made,” “produced,” “brewed,” or “distilled” in a batch; respectively. Example:  “100 bottles produced.”
34. Add certain instructional statements to the label(s) about how best to consume or serve the product.  Only the statements listed in the comments section may be added. Only the following statements are approved to be added to a label:“Refrigerate After Opening”“Do Not Store In Direct Sunlight”,“Best If Frozen For ___ to ___ Hours”, “Shake Well”, “Pour Over Ice”, “Best When Chilled”, “Best Served Chilled”, “Serve Chilled”, “Serve at Room Temperature”

Wine: Managing sulfite and organic statements are much less stringent. (8,027 approved wine labels in September 2014)

Malt: Adding or removing those treasured “Beer Festival” recognitions on labels will no longer require a new label. (708 approved malt labels in September 2014)

Spirits: Small batch whiskey information can be more dynamic on versions of the label. And, the growing interest in organic spirits will help TTB and suppliers be more efficient. (1,286 approved spirits labels in September 2014)

For more information, you may view the complete list of allowable revisions here. Thus far, TTB has approved 90,749 new COLAs this year, with 10,267 in September alone. Keep an eye on newly approved COLAs by clicking here.

Outside Magazine Names ShipCompliant One of America’s Best Places to Work in 2014

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Software Company Ranks #70 on National List for Workplace Excellence

ShipCompliant, the industry leader in compliance and tax automation for the beverage alcohol industry, has been selected as one of OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2014. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious, and prioritize giving back to the community. The entire list of winners appears online at www.outsideonline.com/dreamjobs.

“The credit lies with ShipCompliant’s team on this award. It is a group united by common core values and driven by our purpose to create great solutions for our customers.” said Jason Eckenroth, ShipCompliant’s CEO. “As a customer-funded business, we’ve had no choice but to focus on our ability to attract, hire and retain the very best people. The values articulated in Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work criteria were a natural fit for ShipCompliant.”

To find the best places to work in the United States, OUTSIDE conducted a rigorous eight-month vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices, and demographics of hundreds of companies, and went straight to the employees to hear about factors like corporate culture, role satisfaction, work environment and overall employee engagement. The Best Places to Work list represents the cream of the crop: companies who cultivate a collaborative workplace, enable their employees to enjoy the great outdoors and take pride in their roles in the community and the environment.

“If you’re considering a career change or searching for your dream job, OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work list is the first place to look,” said OUTSIDE Executive Editor Michael Roberts. “These companies set the standard for workplaces that really value their employees and offer an experience that’s fulfilling inside and outside the office.”

ShipCompliant has also been named to the INC 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2011, 2013, and 2014; Mercury 100 Fastest Growing Startups 2008-2013; and the 2011 Colorado Companies to Watch. In 2009, the company was named an IQ Innovation Award Winner, an honor that recognizes companies creating the most innovative new products or services.

Since its founding, ShipCompliant has been committed to providing legendary support for its clients facing challenges in the not-always-sexy world of tax and product compliance. The company’s core values are centered on authentic empathy, a passion for possibilities, being accountable for outcomes, and building in leverage to create exponential impact.

Located in the outdoors mecca of Boulder, Co., ShipCompliant currently employs 42 full-time employees and has plans to grow in the coming year. To view and apply for open positions, please visit ShipCompliant’s Careers page: www.shipcompliant.com/careers.

OUTSIDE published the full list of Best Places to Work on October 2. For more information, please visit www.bestplacestoworkoutside.com.

Media Contacts:
ShipCompliant Contact: Analiese Brown, 303-996-2358, analiese@shipcompliant.com
OUTSIDE Contact: Maya Meredith, 212-255-0945, maya@rosengrouppr.com

3 Reasons To Get Excited About The 2014 ShipCompliant Wholesale Gathering

It’s less than one month away from our first ever Wholesale Gathering in White Plains, NY. We are packing up and hitting the road to provide an opportunity to get people in the wholesale industry together on October 16th. Learn how other people in the industry are using ShipCompliant, and compare best practices to get a competitive advantage.

Here are the top three things you can look forward to in White Plains!

  1. A panel discussion on the unification of the Federal and State approval process
    Imagine a system where you could register and pay for your labels at the federal and state levels with just a few clicks. We’ll debate the short term feasibility and discuss possible solutions to solving the current headaches associated with getting products to market quickly and efficiently. Hear from an expert panel, including Deb Ringo from Diageo, Jeanie Cecil from Brown Forman, Robert Lehrman from Lehrman Beverage Law, and Jeff Carroll from ShipCompliant. The panelists will provide their perspective and tee up the discussion for a participatory session.
  2. Make your voice heard and build out the ideal technology roadmap
    Have you ever had a great idea for ShipCompliant Wholesale? What about an idea that would help your team, but you aren’t quite sure how to get it to decision makers? This session will be a great opportunity for clients and prospects alike to build out their wish-list of technology features directly with product managers and influencers. You can play a part in the next roll out of our industry.
  3. Short & sweet new technology presentations
    Technology businesses are catching on that the alcohol beverage industry and the data that goes along with it makes for a powerful business plan. In White Plains you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the latest technology via short presentations with ample time for Q & A. Look forward to learning more technology trends such as our industry alliance with GoSpotCheck, and our latest product, LabelVision.

Special offer for ShipCompliant Blog subscribers: Save 10% on your Wholesale Gathering registration with discount code SC10.

Doing Business in a Crowded Market: A Rise in Wine Labels Approved by TTB

If it appears like the United States wine market has become more saturated over the past couple of decades, here is one measurement that supports this impression: The number of wine labels approved by the Federal government. Before we dig into the details, it is important to note that many COLAs are approved without ever hitting the market. Additionally, the rule governing when a label must be submitted for approval is that the approval must be obtained before the wine is bottled.

Using LabelVision, we are able to uncover a number of interesting and useful data points about the American wine market. For example, while the number of label approvals increased by 140% during this 17-year period, total wine sales in 1997 vs. 2013 increased by only 70%. Do wine drinkers have access to a far larger variety of wines than ever before? Between 1997 and 2013 the number of wine labels approved annually increased from 36,000 in 1997 to 93,000 labels approved in 2013—a 140% increase. During this same time period, the U.S. population increased by roughly 15%.

The data also tells us that domestically made wines have increased their share of total wines during this time period, though approvals of imported wine labels have outnumbered domestic wine label approvals every year. In 1997 domestic wine labels represented 28% of all approved labels that year. By 2013 domestic wine labels had risen to 36% of all approvals and reached its height in 2010 when they represented 42% of all label approvals.

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 12.19.24 PMWhile LabelVision allows us (and you) to very accurately determine how many wine, beer and spirit labels are being approved annually along with the trends over time, we can’t exactly determine the cause of label approval increases or decreases from one year to another because of the requirements surrounding COLA approvals.

Label approvals during a given year might be a factor of the size of the global vintage from 1-4 years prior, to the state of the economy during a recent period, and even to TTB efficiency in approving labels. For example, the number of labels approved in 2013 bears no relationship to the amount of wine produced from the 2013 harvest. A 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon label might be submitted for approval in 2014, 2015, 2016 or even beyond depending on when it is released and when the producer gets around to submitting the label for approval.

It certainly appears that the U.S. marketplace for wine has become much more crowded with a greater diversity of products. Wine makers may see it as more competitive, consumers may see it as more variety on the shelves. Either way, we are looking forward to using LabelVision to keep up on COLA trends.