TTB Backlog for Breweries Highlights Need to Get Applications Done Right the First Time

The federal Alcohol Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) announced earlier this month that, as of the end of 2013, there were over 3700 active brewer’s notices on file with the TTB.  A federal brewer’s notice is required to operate a brewery and sell beer in interstate commerce.  That number represents a 12% increase over the total at the end of 2012, demonstrating the explosive growth in craft brewing in the United States.

The TTB also cited the government shutdown as contributing to the backlog of applications for both new breweries and new product or label approvals.  While TTB notes it is “work[ing] tirelessly” to process these applications in a timely manner, that this backlog exists highlights the need to ensure that all applications are in order when they are submitted so further needless delay can be avoided.

Bethesda Apartment Building Construction Causing Closures, Spawning Lawsuits

In the last two years, the Woodmont Triangle area of downtown Bethesda has seen a building boom in high-rise luxury apartment buildings.  Construction of one of those buildings, however, appears to be taking its toll on some established local businesses, and has now caused the closing of two local restaurants and an automotive repair shop.

To read more on this ongoing controversy, and the multiple lawsuits it has spawned, please see my post here, which summarizes the excellent coverage from the blog BethesdaNow.

County Liquor Board Wants to Nix Residency Requirements for Liquor Licenses

The Baltimore Sun had an interesting story last week about how the liquor board of Harford County, Maryland, wants to eliminate the state requirement that every county liquor license application have on it at least one resident of the county.  As stated in the article, it can often be a challenge for a restaurant to identify a resident to serve as the resident agent and, even after one is identified, the operations of the establishment can be dependent on maintaining the relationship with that one individual.  Indeed, it was that very issue that brought the matter to fore in this instance.  [Read the full article here]

These residency requirements have presented particular challenges for my clients in Montgomery County, where many national chains and D.C.-based enterprises are often interested in adding locations.  To be issued a license, however, each of these applicants must identify a Montgomery County resident to join the application and maintain responsibility should the establishment violate local liquor laws.  That is rarely an insurmountable hurdle, but it can be a challenging one, and one that is arguably unnecessary.  Were this requirement eliminated, it could make it much easier to attract restaurants and bars to the County, something local authorities have deemed a priority.