Breweries selling beer in California will no longer have to wait for California ABC label approval before selling their beers in the State. Under a new bill recently signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Bill 893, breweries only need to 'register' their beers with the ABC before selling their beers. This should save breweries time in getting their beers to market. Breweries must still comply with state labeling regulations, and any labels which are found to violate existing labeling requirements may still subject breweries to penalties. So the onus remains on breweries to make sure their labels comply with state law. . . .
Similarly, back in 2013, the federal TTB issued a Ruling (No. 2013-1) which stated that the "regulations implementing the FAA Act do not require brewers to obtain a certificate of label approval [COLA] in order to bottle or pack malt beverages that will not be shipped or delivered for sale or shipment into another State." Breweries who sell their beer only within a state do not have to obtain a COLA for that beer.* Still, breweries can apply for federal COLA approval of their labels. This is a good idea if a brewery eventually plans to ship its beer into other states. Also, breweries must still comply with branding and labeling requirements for beer removed from the premises under IRS regulations (IRC 1986; 27 CFR part 25, subpart J) and must comply with the health warning statement requirements imposed by the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act, 27 U.S.C. 215. These requirements apply regardless of whether the product is sold in interstate commerce. See 27 CFR part 16.
Section 25200 [NEW].
(a) A package or sealed container of beer shall not be sold in this state without having a label affixed to such package or container. The label shall meet the requirements of federal malt beverage labeling regulations contained in Parts 7 and 16 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, regardless of whether the label is subject to approval by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau or any successor agency.
(b) (1) In addition to label requirements pursuant to subdivision (a), if not already included, the following information shall appear on the label:
(A) The brand, and class or type, of beer.
(B) The true and correct name and address of the manufacturer of the beer. For purposes of this provision, if multiple beer manufacturers are involved in the production of the beer pursuant to a joint venture or other collaborative arrangement, each of those manufacturers may be identified on the label.
(C) The true and correct name of the bottler of the beer, if other than the manufacturer.
(D) A statement of alcoholic content if the beer contains more than 5.7 percent alcohol by volume.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, the true and correct name of a manufacturer, bottler, or packager shall be deemed to include a fictitious business name for which the manufacturer, bottler, or packager has duly filed a fictitious business name statement pursuant to Section 17900.
(c) Prior to the first sale of a brand of beer in this state, the manufacturer of that beer shall register the brand with the department. Upon the filing of the registration with the department, the brand may be sold in this state without further action by the department. The registration shall include the following:
(1) The true name and address of the actual manufacturer of the beer.
(2) Any fictitious business name of the manufacturer under which the beer is manufactured.
(3) The class or type of beer and all brand names under which the beer is to be sold in this state.
(4) If manufactured under contract for another beer manufacturer or other person, the true name of such other beer manufacturer or person.
(5) If manufactured pursuant to a joint venture or other collaborative arrangement, the name and address of all manufacturers involved in the joint venture or other collaborative arrangement.
(d) The manufacturer of the beer shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this section. In the case of beer manufactured pursuant to a joint venture or other collaborative arrangement, only the actual manufacturer of the beer need comply.
(e) If beer is sold or offered for sale in this state without first complying with the provisions of this section, or violates any other provision of this division, the department may take such action as it deems reasonable and necessary, including, but not limited to, ordering that the beer no longer be sold or offered for sale until such time as the requirements of this section are complied with. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit the department from permitting beer that is sold or offered for sale in this state that does not comply with the requirements of this section to continue to be sold or offered for sale for a reasonable period of time to allow the manufacturer to meet the requirements of this section.
Section 25201 [NEW}
(a) A manufacturer, importer, or wholesaler of beer shall not use a container or carton as a package or container of a beer other than the beer as is manufactured by the manufacturer whose name or brand of beer appears upon the container or carton, or use as a package or container of a beer a container or carton which bears the name of a manufacturer of beer or the brand of any beer other than those of the manufacturer of the beer contained in the container or carton.
(b) A beer manufacturer that refills any container supplied by a consumer shall affix a label that complies with this section on the container prior to its resale to the consumer. Any information concerning any beer previously packaged in the container, including, but not limited to, information regarding the manufacturer and bottler of the beer, or any associated brands or trademarks, shall be removed or completely obscured in a manner not readily removable by the consumer prior to the resale of the container to the consumer. This subdivision does not authorize a beer manufacturer to refill a container supplied by a consumer with a capacity of five liquid gallons or more.
* See 28 USC Section 205(e), It should be noted too that under subsection (f), subsection (e) applies "only to the extent that the law of such State [i.e., the State receiving malt beverages] imposes similar requirements with respect to the labeling or advertising, as the case may be, of malt beverages not sold or shipped or delivered for shipment or otherwise introduced into or received in such State from any place outside thereof." 28 USC Section 205(f).