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3 Reasons To Get Excited About This Year’s DIRECT Conference

ShipCompliant DIRECT 2013

We look forward to the DIRECT Conference each year, however, this year’s conference promises to be the most exciting yet! Here are some reasons we are excited.

1. Our amazing keynote speaker, Zingerman’s Co-Owner & Founding Partner, Ari Weinzweig
What can a deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan teach the world about building a business that is both culture-driven and wildly profitable? Plenty, as it turns out, and Ari Weinzweig, Co-Owner and Founding Partner of the acclaimed Zingerman’s Delicatessen is on a mission to do just that.

In his keynote presentation at DIRECT, Weinzweig will share his visionary approach, which has propelled the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB) to success,  including the “natural laws of business” as introduced in his book, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading: Part 1, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business. He is known for his engaging and eclectic public speaking style, which fuses humor with practical instruction.

In addition to writing a series of books, Weinzweig has translated his model into a program dubbed Zingtrain, which facilitates training for diverse companies around the country, including Domaine Carneros Winery. “We have used the Zingtrain model to revolutionize our business,” said Eileen Crane, Domaine Carneros’ CEO. Weinzweig’s speech promises to be an unforgettable start to DIRECT 2014; you won’t want to miss it!

2. New two day format = more time for ShipCompliant University!
For the first time, the DIRECT Conference will be spread throughout the course of two days, May 8 and 9, in order to deliver more content and value to participants than in previous years.

Day 1 will be focused on Strategies for Wine Sales Success, filled with valuable information for winery executives and anyone interested in shipping wine, including winery owners, tasting room managers, compliance professionals, financial teams, shipping managers and more. In addition to Weinzweig’s keynote presentation, the agenda will include a look at the changing industry with ShipCompliant CEO Jason Eckenroth, state-by-state legislative updates with Steve Gross (Vice President, State Relations, Wine Institute), a panel of leaders in the industry, and an exhibitor showcase. Check out the full line-up of industry focused breakout sessions and speakers.

Day 2 will be fully centered around ShipCompliant University, a series of offerings focused on delivering education that enables users to make the most of ShipCompliant software. Not only will clients have a first look to explore the brand new features announced, they will also get hands-on training,  and one-on-one sessions with the ShipCompliant Client Services team. Additionally, Client Services will address any questions specific to your business or workflow right there in person!

3. Most importantly, the opportunity to spend time with YOU!
In all honesty, what we’re most excited about is being able to connect with clients  and industry friends in person! While we build relationships with you all year long, we count down the days until we can put faces to names and learn more about your needs. We strive to make DIRECT the best possible experience for all those who come. “Those who attend DIRECT will take a giant step forward with their business and leadership skills. We can’t wait!” said Sam Straka, a member of our Client Services team. Learn more and register today to confirm your spot for DIRECT 2014. DIRECT is happening May 8th and 9th!

Special offer for ShipComplaint Blog subscribers: Save 10% on your DIRECT registration with discount code SCBLOG10.

Stuff You Didn’t Know about Being a Craft Brewer (Part 2)

In the last post, I ran through some of the things you need to be think about as a brewery expanding into new markets. Let’s review:

I want to pause at this last point. Breweries need to be especially concerned with entering into agreements with new distributors because there is so much at stake. Franchise laws are known to be stricter for beer than they are for wine and spirits. In an extreme case, a brewery might even pull out of a state for a year or more and then, if it’s possible, re-enter in order to move away from an underperforming distributor. Ideally, you not only want to find a distributor that will take your brand, but also one that focuses on craft beer or beer imports and will actively market and sell your product. Check out an interesting NYT article recently published on how franchise laws affect small craft beer businesses.

Here’s a brief list of issues to keep in mind regarding your ongoing wholesale operations:

  • Periodic registrations – Several states require that you submit brand or label renewals to keep tabs on actively distributed products.
  • Tax and shipment reporting – On a state-by-state basis you will be required to file excise tax, wholesale gallonage or shipper reports. These forms can vary widely – some states don’t require them, others ask you to break your sales down by package type, and still others want to know the quantity of cans and bottles instead of in cases.
  • Growing your sales in out-of-state markets – from managing the relationship with your distributor (especially in states where you rely on them to do the heavy lifting) to deciding when its time to place a sales rep in a market to exclusively sell your portfolio, growing sales requires active oversight and management.

ShipCompliant now offers a package specifically for breweries that is designed to simplify compliance. ShipCompliant will automatically pre-populate your registration packets and monthly state reports, help you submit COLA applications right the first time and identify brands that might be confusingly similar to your own.  To learn more, check out the press release on the launch of the new ShipCompliant Beer Edition.

No Need to Update Your ShipCompliant Passwords Because of the Heartbleed Bug


By now, you have probably heard about an encryption flaw called the Heartbleed bug. This bug affected web applications using a particular version of OpenSSL, a protocol designed to provide security for information transmitted over the internet. A widely-used version of OpenSSL was vulnerable to an issue in which sensitive information could potentially be exposed to a malicious hacker.

img src heartbleed.com

ShipCompliant services were not exposed to this vulnerability because we do not use OpenSSL.

ShipCompliant takes security, reliability and durability of your data very seriously. We follow a multi-tiered proactive approach to ensure we use the most powerful security tools and controls available so that all your sensitive information is protected. For more information on our security and privacy policies, please see our Privacy Overview page.

If you have any questions or concerns surrounding this issue, please contact us directly by emailing ShipCompliant Client Services, or by calling (303) 996-2356.

Stuff You Didn’t Know about Being a Craft Brewer (Part 1)

The craft brewing industry has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. In 2012, there were 1292 craft breweries in the US and 1,124 brewpubs, a growth rate of more than 20% over the previous year. More and more people are getting into the business of craft beer, but how many really understand what’s involved? There’s more to successfully thriving in the industry than brewing your product.

Let’s start with a few points you need to consider when launching a new brand or starting to distribute in a new state. Once, your growth was only limited by tank sizes and capacity and the time it takes to brew a certain beer. Suddenly, it’s also limited by the time it takes to process paperwork. It’s incredibly important that when launching new products, everyone is aware of the regulatory hurdles and timelines.

  • Trademark issues – As the number of breweries increases, these type of issues are coming up more frequently. It’s even appearing in the mainstream press; listen to Public Radio’s Here and Now show on this topic. You may think your new beer’s name is totally unique, but chances are if it’s a pun on the word Hops or Rye, someone else is already selling it.
  • Pre-COLA Product Evaluation and Certification of Label Approval (COLA) submission – Formulation can be the most difficult part for new breweries as it can be difficult to know what is and isn’t exempt. This first step in the COLA process can take months of back and forth, and be a real bottleneck, but you can’t net a single sale until you get your COLA approved by TTB.
  • State brand and label registrations – These can be time consuming, especially because each state requires different forms and supplemental information. For example, in Texas they even require a chemical analysis to accompany any new registrations.
  • State permitting – This can include getting an alcohol supplier permit with the state ABC, getting licensed with the Secretary of State, or registering for payroll/unemployment taxes and income tax/gross receipts taxes.
  • Entering into trade agreements with distributors  - With exceptions, to get your product to market in other states you must sell to distributors within that state. Franchise laws within the various states can range from no issues for using different distributors to very strict about who you use, what territories they have, and what brands they sell.

ShipCompliant now offers a package specifically for breweries that is designed to simplify compliance. ShipCompliant will automatically pre-populate your registration packets and monthly state reports, help you submit COLA applications right the first time and identify brands that might be confusingly similar to your own.  To learn more, check out the press release on the launch of the new ShipCompliant Beer Edition.

Study on Efforts to Prevent Marketing to Minors Gives Alcohol Industry High Marks

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released their fourth study on efforts to prevent marketing to minors, and the results are positive. The study shows the self-policing efforts by members of the wine, beer, and spirits industries continue to demonstrate responsible advertising. The 2014 FTC Study found a more than 93% compliance rate with industry guidelines for advertising placement, a 1% increase from the 2008 Study. The other three studies were conducted in 1999, 2003, and 2008.

The most notable difference of the latest study from past studies is the considerable increase in information gathered on digital and online marketing efforts and expenditures. Online social media usage, a new and common platform for information distribution, adds data that keeps the study contemporary with today’s current marketing field. The study focuses on:

  • Advertising placements
  • Online and other digital marketing
  • Product placement in entertainment media
  • External reviews of complaints regarding code compliance
  • Alcohol marketing expenditures

The FTC study delivered a number of conclusions for alcohol marketers to keep in mind:

  • Adherence to Industry marketing codes are encouraged
  • Advocated use of “age-gating” technology (requiring the user/consumer to enter a birth date, rather than simply acknowledging they are over 21 before entering a producer’s website or social media site.
  • Producers should be pro-active in removing code violations that are user-generated on producer websites or social media sites.
  • Participation in industries’ external compliant review systems is necessary to continue to improve voluntary advertising and marketing standards

A summary of the 2014 FTC study can be read in this press release, or in full here. You may also review the respective codes of advertising and marketing developed by each of the following industries, as well as the previous three studies: