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California: Apparently California lawmakers don’t have a whole lot of pressing issues to deal with so they have to get into the business of regulating celebrities signing wine bottles.

The State Assembly passed bill 2184 at the end of July which stipulates that

1) Consumers must not be required to buy anything to get an autograph,

2) They don’t have to pay a fee for the autograph, and

3) The store is required to pay for the services needed to carry out the autograph promotions.


Where it gets really crazy is that the bill also stipulates that the retailer may advertise the event, but the brand owner may not (i.e., Jacob’s Creek couldn’t put an ad on its website or Facebook page).  Also, it states the signing may happen in retailer shops, but not restaurants and that the brand owner may only visit a retail shop twice per year to do autograph sessions.  As Tom Wark over at Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog noted,



These and so many other alcohol regulations not only serve fears that originated 100 years ago and no longer matter, but now only serve to protect the financial interests who have used 100 year old fears to game the system to their own economic interests.



Also in California: beers aged in used wine barrels are officially still legally considered beer.  Last month Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bipartisan bill ensuring that microbreweries don’t have to worry about aging beer in wine/liquor barrels.  Some in the industry feared that because the beer derived some of its flavor from the barrels which previously held wine or liquor, that the beer might be considered a distilled spirit by the state, which would require much higher taxes.



How much protection do we need from ourselves?