Key Takeaways | Uncorking What’s Ahead for Alcoholic Beverage Companies - McDermott Will & Emery

Key Takeaways | Uncorking What’s Ahead for Alcoholic Beverage Companies


So far in 2024, alcoholic beverage industry leaders are adapting to the changing needs of consumers and driving more innovation than in prior years. In this webinar series, our alcohol and regulatory distribution team offers strategies for preparing your company for these and other evolving trends that will shape the alcoholic beverage industry this year.

During this webinar, Alva Mather and Nichole Shustack provided tips on navigating the growing hemp-based beverage market, understanding new regulatory schemes and approaching e-commerce.

Top takeaways included:

  1. Hemp-based beverages are a growing market. Be prepared, however, to navigate a complicated regulatory environment. “THC-infused” beverages are hemp-derived cannabis drinks, falling outside of the federal prohibition on marijuana. Many states exempt hemp from the regulations that govern the sale of other cannabis products, but some are taking strident steps to regulate the emerging intoxicating hemp beverage category. Like with alcohol, scaling a business selling hemp-based beverage products may require a market-by-market approach to compliance.
  2. Offering new categories of products means understanding new regulatory schemes. Alcohol beverage suppliers expanding their offerings into nonalcoholic or functional beverage spaces should carefully consider the divergence in the way in which these products are regulated compared to alcoholic beverages. Understanding the varying pre-market approval processes, labeling requirements and permissible on-label claims for conventional beverages compared to alcohol products are critical to ensuring alcohol beverage suppliers entering new categories are compliant but still competitive.
  3. E-commerce can be a valuable addition to an alcohol supplier’s go-to-market strategy, but not all e-commerce models are created equal from a compliance perspective. Because “e-commerce” is often used as a catch-all term to describe any sale made online and delivered to a consumer’s residence, it’s not always clear what path that product took to arrive at someone’s doorstep. Before entering the e-commerce space or engaging a partner to help do it for you, ensure you’re asking the right questions. You should ask who is making the sale of alcohol (e.g., supplier, wholesaler or retailer), how all involved parties are licensed, and whether the product is shipped via common carrier or is “delivered.” Like everything else in the alcohol space, restrictions on shipping or delivery vary by state and by commodity.

Dig Deeper

Arlington, VA / Speaking Engagements / March 10-12, 2024

NABCA's 31st Annual Symposium on Alcohol Beverage Law & Regulation

San Diego, CA / Speaking Engagements / March 4-6, 2024

2024 DISCUS Annual Conference

Marina del Rey, CA / Speaking Engagements / December 6-7, 2023

Brewbound Live: Level Up Your Digital Strategy

Webinar / McDermott Webinar / September 27, 2023

Key Takeaways | Seeing Around the Corner: Alcohol Industry Updates

Chicago, IL / Speaking Engagements / June 14-15, 2023

2023 DISCUS Conference

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