Please feel free to recommend additional information and links to firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend you follow government mandates, CDC guidance, and remember that this too shall pass.
Keg Buy Backs
Based on our research and confirmation from the ABC chief counsel, we can provide the following guidelines regarding keg buy-backs:
- Manufacturers cannot be compelled to buy-back draft beer from wholesalers against their wish.
- However, manufacturers may voluntarily buy-back kegs due to the COVID-19 situation, provided that both the manufacturer and wholesaler are in agreement as to the conditions and terms of the buy-back, including any discounted price. Proper records of this action must be kept.
- If a keg is returned to the manufacturer because of COVID-19, the beer may re-enter the market. If it is returned because it is out-of-code, it may not re-enter the market. You should be very wary of the quality of returned product.
Please note that buy-backs should be heavily scrutinized to ensure that the manufacturer and wholesaler are not engaged in an illegal consignment sale. Buy-backs are usually only allowed in narrow circumstances, and “slow-moving product” is not normally a valid reason.
You should be aware that large breweries such as Diageo, Anheuser-Busch In-Bev and Constellation are accepting buy-backs at a discount only. AB-Inbev, for example, is offering 50% reimbursement for untapped, out-of-code draft beer through July 1.
Effective March 24, all Alabama on- and off-premises licensees are authorized to do curbside pickup. However, these sales are limited to one liter of liquor, 1.5 liters of wine, or 288 ounces of beer.
You may make sales on your premises, on a patio adjacent to your premises, or curbside delivery within the limits.
For licensed brewpubs, this does give you the ability to sell up to a case of any beer you’ve purchased from your wholesaler for curbside pickup.
This emergency rule is scheduled to expire on July 22, 2020.
Unfortunately, delivery of alcoholic beverages to customers at their residence is prohibited for any business in Alabama.
State Excise Taxes
We received the following statement from the Director of the ABC’s Tax and Trade Practices Division. This should provide some confidence that you can defer payment of ABC excise taxes for the time being.
ABC is keenly aware of the difficulties and economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Alabama’s craft beer, wine and spirit manufacturers. We are also sensitive to the other financial obligations that manufacturers must fulfill. As are result, ABC does not anticipate that penalties or interest will commence for late excise tax remittances in the foreseeable future.
You should continue to file your monthly reports. Also note that the ABC does not normally administer the $0.1625 per 4-oz uniform local excise tax. You should consult with your local collection agency on that.
Production of Hand Sanitizer
According to the ABC, they do not regulate non-beverage products such as hand sanitizer. You should, however, keep good records of alcohol that is used for this process. We recommend researching the American Craft Spirits Association’s resources for federal and other guidance.
If you need to destroy product, you must contact the ABC. They do not expect excessive delays during this situation, and they usually respond within 48 hours. Photo and video evidence has never been allowed – you must reach out to the state for them to come in to witness the destruction (or however they want to handle it). You can reach out to the ABC Tax and Trade Practices Division at ABCBoard–Audit@abc.alabama.gov. The ABC is also implementing heightened safety protocols and issued the following:
For the time being, once a licensee has scheduled a destruction, the licensee will be required to complete the appropriate destruction form affidavit “in advance by size and email to the licensee’s contact”. ABC employees will print the document prior to arriving on licensee’s location, verify the count, witness the destruction of the beer, sign and email the verified document to the licensee and to ABCBoard- -Audit@abc.alabama.gov.
Liquor Liability Insurance
ABC licensed establishments are required by law to maintain a minimum amount of liquor liability insurance. Based on guidance from the ABC (see guidance), if you choose to close your business you are not required to maintain this insurance. Provided, however, that you must inform the ABC’s Licensing and Compliance Division of your shut-down. Please see the Guidance page for more information.
The ABC has written down their guidance on gift cards that we worked with them to establish a couple years ago. You can read that guidance here.
Breweries are Essential Business
According to federal guidelines, all food and drink manufacturing and retail operations are considered to be essential. However, these guidelines are not binding to state or local officials. Unless there is more specific guidance, you are essential.