To our valued customers:
The US beverage alcohol industry has it tough. It is one of the most regulated industries in the United States, as well as one of the most fragmented. Our industry is full of thousands of small businesses and startups; Entrepreneurs following their passion and seeking to achieve their dream of building a business as a winery, brewery, distillery or importer.
Today, I’m proud to announce a major milestone in our effort to eliminate the complexity and cost of compliance for beverage alcohol companies: AutoFile – The first fully automated filing and payment solution for regulatory reporting.
No longer will you have to print paper, cut checks, or log into online filing systems. All of your state sales tax, excise tax, direct shipping and wholesale gallonage reports are automatically filed through AutoFile, complete with payment.
AutoFile has many benefits over reporting by hand, or outsourcing:
Simple funding: State payments are made out of an account of your choosing. No painful escrow accounts to manage, or reconciliation to deal with. It’s all under your own accounts!
Total control: Anytime, anywhere, view your compliance activity, place filings on hold, review past activity. Just like online banking you can view everything submitted on your behalf, in real time.
Future proof: If a state regulatory system changes its forms, procedures or methods, rest easy, it’s our problem now, not yours.
Guaranteed: All regulatory filings will be sent on time and accurately, guaranteed.
I encourage you to try it today, using our special free trial offer:
Your first month of reporting is on us, plus we’ll waive your setup fees.
Customers: Click here to start your free trial!
Non-customers: Choose an edition of ShipCompliant right for you.
We are grateful to our many clients that assisted in creating a solution that will help our industry grow further and faster.
Effective May 1, 2014, FedEx will begin accepting on-site direct-to-consumer wine shipment orders to Arkansas residents. Both FedEx Express and FedEx Ground services will be available for wineries licensed to ship wine directly to Arkansas consumers. As we outlined in our blog post back in February, in order to be compliant, wineries must:
- Apply for a $25 wine shipping permit (call the AR ABC for a permit application – 501-682-1105)
- Ship on-site shipments only
- Send orders only to private residences
- Pay sales and excise taxes
- Limit shipment volumes to 1 case per resident per quarter, max
Wineries should also note the FedEx label placed on any shipments satisfies the requirement of having a special shipping label on any on-site orders sent to Arkansas residents. FedEx’s shipping map will be updated on May 1.
Currently there are only a handful of states that offer DTC beer shipments in the country. New York could be next up to bat with a bill that, among other things, would allow beer shipments to cross state lines into the hands of consumers. New York is the 4th largest consumer of beer products in the country, and may become the largest consumer of beer of any state that allows interstate direct shipping of beer if this bill passes as written. Laws that allow DTC beer and cider shipments in states with higher consumption will create an interesting opportunity for breweries around the country. With 2 weeks left in the session, it will be interesting to see if beer shipments will make it in the final bill.
Other changes proposed in the current version of the bill include:
- The removal of the existing wine direct shipping reciprocal customer shipping volume limit
- A new common carrier license
- Wineries and farm wineries would be able to ship not only their own wines, but wines from neighboring wineries. (See page 47 of the bill)
Keep an eye on our blog and our twitter feed (@shipcompliant) for updates as we follow the story.
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.
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.