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Revisions to Beverage Law

Posted By Brook Bristow, Thursday, May 25, 2017
Hello, Together SC members!

As you’ll recall, since last summer, nonprofits across South Carolina have had to deal with the fallout from the new DOR and SLED crackdown on special events, which has included donated alcohol from breweries, wineries, and distilleries to your organizations. If you need a refresher, you can revisit a blog I wrote last year.

You can also go back to some of the discussion had on the Together SC blog about the issue. The bottom line was that after the crackdown, producers were not longer allowed to donate product to nonprofit organizations. The only donations that could occur were from wholesalers, and even then, nonprofit special events had to meet several criteria in order to receive such a donation.

Well, we have good news! This year, the South Carolina General Assembly heard those concerns and passed S. 114, which will fix many of the issues experienced over the last year. The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor this week. So, what is being fixed and what will the procedure be going forward? Here is a quick rundown:

How will licensing work? 
In order to receive any donation, you’ll need to apply to DOR for a nonprofit special event permit. Most nonprofits have undoubtedly done this before and are aware of the process which is staying pretty much the same. You’ll be limited to four of these permits each year and each event cannot last more than 72 hours.

Who can donate? 
You can solicit and receive donations from both producers and wholesalers of alcohol. For whomever you’re approaching, they need to be licensed in South Carolina, even if you’re talking to an out-of-state entity. This means that breweries, wineries, importers, and distilleries may donate. It also means that for the first time, brewpubs may donate as well.

What can be donated? 
For alcohol, you can have beer, wine, and spirits. It would also include other malt beverages or fermented beverages. No matter what is being donated, it must be something registered with DOR. Unfortunately, products produced at home by non-professionals such as beer and wine are not allowed.

How will a donation work? 
No matter if a producer or wholesaler is donating to you, the donation will need to be transferred from a wholesaler. You can either pickup the donation at the wholesaler’s place of business or have it delivered to the event site, which you will need to be in control of - meaning, your license will need to have that date on it in addition to the event date if it is earlier. You'll need to have your license in hand from DOR under either circumstance. The wholesaler will also provide you with an invoice. You’ll need to have this along with your license at the event.

Can we get help at the event? 
Yes, a producer will be able to provide employees or agents to assist in pouring and may also provide equipment to pour. Whomever they provide will need to have received the appropriate alcohol training, of course. A wholesaler may not provide employees or agents to pour. However, it may provide you with equipment to pour.

So, that’s all of the good news. The bad news is that unfortunately, this new law won’t take place until 6 months from now - meaning, we’re looking at November for when things can get back to normal. In the meantime, you’ll have to continue to operate how you have been for the last year. 

If you need any assistance, feel free to reach out.

Brook Bristow

Owner, Bristow Beverage Law

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Tags:  beverage law  Legal  Legislative  Together SC 

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