Craft beer darling, and Sunshine Coast favourite Persephone Brewing Company has been given two years to relocate its facilities off its current premises in British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). On December 19th, 2016 the Agricultural Land Commission (South Coast Panel) released the reasons of its decision not to permit Persephone to continue to operate at its 11 acre property located at 1053 Stewart Road in Gibsons, BC. The reasons can be found here.
It’s fitting that after a year of significant liquor law announcements, reforms, and court cases coming from across the country, the Ontario Court of Appeal would release a liquor law decision just before the start of the New Year. While the result was unfortunate for the Toronto Distillery Company, and affirms a common practice used by liquor control boards to extract tax revenue from small producers, it does provide food for thought for liquor lawyers from coast-to-coast.
In January of this year the Toronto Distillery Company (the “Distillery”) brought an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a declaration that the levy imposed by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (the “LCBO”) on the sale of its products at its on-site retail store is unconstitutional. The Distillery’s position is that the “levy” the LCBO charges on all of its products is in substance a “tax” and only the Parliament of Canada or the Legislature of Ontario has the authority to impose taxes.
*Click here to read Pt. 1 of this article*
A beverage with alcohol by volume greater than 1.1% is considered an alcoholic beverage under the Food and Drug Regulations. The Regulations describe alcoholic beverages by their “common name” – which is another way of saying the category of liquor the beverage falls into (e.g. beer, wine, whisky).
This past week it came to light that people were dying in a slum of Mumbai, India, from drinking “tainted” moonshine. Over 150 people are suspected of having consumed the illicit methanol-laced liquor, and at the time of writing 94 people have died. Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is a highly toxic form of alcohol (sometimes used as anti-freeze or fuel), that is often added to bootlegged liquor as an easy way to increase the alcohol content. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the name of beverage-grade alcohol.
This past Easter long weekend I had the pleasure of visiting a handful of wineries in Naramata, speaking to their owners, and or course sampling their products. The Naramata Bench offers a truly world class wine tasting and touring experience complete with modern facilities and stunning views of Lake Okanagan. It was fitting that on April 1, 2015 (the day before I left for wine country) the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch published its Sampling & Tasting Policy Consultation bulletin. Currently in British Columbia there is no maximum volume or quantity of free samples a winery, brewery or distillery is permitted to offer on its manufacturing site. I worry that may change.
The Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and directed that the Registrar of Trade-marks allow Glenora’s application to register Glen Breton. Although the Association sought leave to further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, leave was denied, thus bringing the Battle of the Glen to a close in Glenora’s favour.
For context, see Battle of the Glen Part 1
When Glenora applied to Register “Glen Breton” as a trade-mark for use in association with its whisky, the Association opposed the registration. Specifically the Scotch Whisky Association challenged Glenora’s ability to use a mark prefixed with the word “glen” for its whisky. It claimed that the use of “glen”-prefixed marks in association with several well-known single malt Scotches, including Glenlivet, Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich, has resulted in an association in consumers’ minds between the word “glen” and whiskies distilled in Scotland.
When is Scotch whisky not Scotch whisky?