News

The Strange War on Alcohol Advertising 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:13:00 PM

Source: The American Spectator

KEVIN KOSAR

July 21, 2017

 Earlier this year, there began a drum beat to ban drinks advertising. There was the Washington Post, which ran an article titled, "For women, heavy drinking has been normalized. That's dangerous." To ensure readers were sufficiently panicked, they included "Nine charts that show how white women are drinking themselves to death." The authors fingered alcohol advertising and even an Amy Schumer movie.

 The ivory tower, eager to help, also chimed in. "It is a looming health crisis," declared one academic. Addiction journal, an always cheerful read, issued a "call for governments around the world" to pass laws banning alcohol advertising. "Governments are responsible for the health of their citizens," admonished Prof. Thomas Babor, who edited the issue and long has demonized drink. To this end, public health agencies should be empowered to enforce the ban and punish anyone who violates it.

 The Federal Trade Commission, for its part, frets, "These days, advertising is almost everywhere we go - on television, in the bus, on the street, and on the Internet. Alcohol advertising is no exception. And, as is the case with most advertising, alcohol advertising makes the product look great!"

 What is all so bizarre is that the data on alcohol consumption paint a very different picture of America and drink. A new Gallup survey reports about six out of ten Americans today consume alcohol occasionally, which is about the same level as it always has been.

 But what about alcohol misuse, you may wonder? Well, per capita alcohol consumption is down from 10 liters to 8 liters per year since 1980, a 20% drop. Chronic liver diseases, which alcoholics can get, is down from 15.1 individuals per 100,000 to 10.4 per 100,000 during that same period. Drunk driving also is trending downward.

 But what about the children, you may ask? Well, underage drinking by high schoolers has declined over the last decade. So too is binge drinking by under-age persons. The Centers for Disease Control reports: "During 1991-2007, the prevalence of current drinking among high school students declined significantly, from 50.8% (1991) to 44.7% (2007), and then significantly declined to 32.8% in 2015. The prevalence of binge drinking increased from 31.3% in 1991 to 31.5% in 1999, and then significantly declined to 17.7% in 2015."

 All of which makes the thesis - that alcohol advertising is a peril that demands new laws and new governmental enforcers - very strange.

 Kevin R. Kosar is a senior fellow at R Street Institute and heads its alcohol policy reform program. He is the author of Moonshine: A Global History (2017) and Whiskey: A Global History (2010).

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Preckwinkle Pops Off On Retailer Lawsuits Against Soda Tax 

Friday, July 14, 2017 3:58:00 PM

WBEZ Staff

July 13, 2017

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Thursday blasted the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, accusing the group of seeking “maximum negative impact” by waiting to file a lawsuit to block the county’s sweetened beverage tax until just days before it was scheduled to go into effect, a move that will cause “hundreds” of county workers to lose their jobs. 

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“That’s disingenuous on their part, to put it kindly,” Preckwinkle said of the association on WBEZ’s Morning Shift. “We enacted this tax last November. At any point after that, they could have talked to us about compromise. … They chose the very last moment to have maximum negative impact. If they had done it immediately, we might have had this judicated in the courts by now and know where we were.” 

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association did not immediately comment.

A Cook County judge last month put a temporary halt on the penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages after the association argued the tax is unconstitutional and vague. 

As a result, Preckwinkle said each county department and office will have to cut 10 percent of its budget. County officials had hoped to balance the county’s $4.4 billion budget for the 2017 fiscal year with the tax, which was estimated to bring in more than $67 million this year and $200 million next year. 

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, a close ally of Preckwinkle who also appeared on Morning Shift Thursday, said any layoffs within her office would be “painful.” A spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff’s office said nearly 1,000 employees could receive pink slips

Preckwinkle said 1,100 workers were laid off in November due to budget cuts. She said she doesn’t know how many additional layoffs will be made now. 

Appearing on Morning Shift, Preckwinkle talked about the difficulties of finding another revenue stream and what she expects to be a “protracted court battle” over the sweetened beverage tax. Below are some interview highlights. 

On the possibility of raising other taxes 

Toni Preckwinkle: I don’t think that there’s any source of revenue that I could get nine votes for. You have to understand, we did this last year because it was two years out of an election. I can’t ask my commissioners — because I know I won’t get the votes — to propose another tax increase right before they have to run in the primaries or right before they have to run in the general election. That’s just really unlikely. 

On finding compromises with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association 

Preckwinkle: We enacted this tax last November. At any point after that, they could have talked to us about compromise. What they talked to us about is modifying the rules and [regulations], which we issued in March and we have tweaked since then in every case they at their request. 

And then, two days before the tax was to be implemented, they went to court and sued us. They could have brought suit anytime between November, when we enacted the budget, and the end of June, when we were about to implement the tax. 

They chose the very last moment to have maximum negative impact. If they had done it immediately, we might have had this judicated in the courts by now and know where we were. As it is, we’re in for a protracted court battle. 

On budget cuts 

Preckwinkle: We’ve asked bureau chief, every department head, every separately elected official to cut their budgets by 10 percent between now and Nov. 30. They can do that with non-personnel costs — contracts, vendors, whatever. They can do that through personnel, but since most of our budgets, across the board, are personnel, it’s going to result in some layoffs. I’m not sure the exact magnitude. We’re eliminating a lot of positions, sweeping them as one way of saving money so people can’t fill positions. But we’re also going to end up laying off hundreds of people. 

On layoffs

Preckwinkle: One of the worst things about this job is that I’ve had, over the course of the seven years that I’ve been in office, [is] to lay people off. It’s heartbreaking because the folks who are going to be laid off, it’s no fault of their own. It’s not a reflection of their performance or the importance of the work that they do. It’s because we just don’t have the resources to pay all of our costs.

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California: Liquor licenses are too expensive, and the L.A. dining scene suffers as a result 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 9:22:00 AM

Source: LA Times

June 30, 2017

 

When I dine out in Los Angeles, I sometimes think of the editor Robert Messenger, who observed that a good cocktail "whets the appetite, pleases the eye, and stimulates the mind. It is one of our conspicuous contributions to cultured living." Or the writer Adam Gopnik, who said that "meeting someplace with old and new friends, ordering wine, eating food, surrounded by strangers, I think is the core of what it means to live a civilised life."

 

This is my way of saying that I like to order drinks at restaurants. But the price tag often stops me. Though California is home to many distillers and some of the world's most productive vineyards, a cocktail and a glass of wine while dining out can easily top $30. Why?

 

Supply and demand explains why wealthy Californians have access to, say, better real estate than poor Californians. There are only so many houses perched above the shores of Malibu, only so many courtside seats at Staples Center, and they go to the highest bidders. But the high cost of ordering a Negroni or a glass or Chianti is largely our creation, the result of a manufactured scarcity in licenses to sell liquor. A restaurateur must incur thousands of dollars in direct costs just to be in the drink business. And the process is so complicated that consultants and lawyers are hired to help navigate it.

 

At minimum, you'll need to pay roughly $13,000 to the state to be considered for a liquor license, initiating a review process that takes 90 days on average - though as the official website warns, "circumstances often result in a longer waiting period." You'll also need to pay a fee to local authorities to be considered for a conditional-use permit. In Los Angeles that costs about $8,000 if you're in no hurry. Expedited review costs closer to $15,000. Did I mention that you need to have your location established before you submit these applications, or that signing a lease without a liquor license requires a leap of faith? (If you can't sell liquor, you probably can't stay in business.)

 

The high cost of ordering a Negroni or a glass or Chianti is largely our creation, the result of a manufactured scarcity in licenses to sell liquor.

But that summary radically understates the costs. As noted, California artificially limits the number of liquor licenses it grants through a complicated process that involves the population size in different census tracts and counties.

 

What's important for our aspiring taqueria owner is that the regulations create a secondary market, which fluctuates according to supply and demand and can make the effective cost of a liquor license for a new restaurant soar well into six figures.

 

Hence stories like this one, from the owners of AQ on Mission Street in San Francisco. "When we opened AQ in 2011," they explain on their blog, "we purchased our license from a closing Chinese restaurant for $85,000. It seemed like a huge cost at the time." But less than five years later, they added, "many licenses are being sold in the $250,000 to $325,000 range!"

 

Big industry players can thrive in spite of those eye-popping upfront costs, knowing they'll pass them along to consumers over time.

 

But as Jim Saksa observed in Slate after surveying the 16 states with similar laws, "the quota system creates barriers to entry stiffer than a shot of cheap tequila, forcing aspiring restaurateurs to take on more debt, or surrender more of their business to equity investors, just to get off the ground." The status quo favors corporate partnerships backed by hedge funds. Meanwhile it's brutal for aspiring restaurateurs who happen to be culinary school graduates with student debt -- and more brutal still for recent immigrants with a dream, a family recipe and a language barrier that makes navigating a complex alcohol bureaucracy even harder.

 

Most Californians are blind to the costs. They don't notice when the would-be owners of a small taqueria never open because the business doesn't make sense without the margaritas; nor do they lament the lost pleasures of the meals uneaten, even as they complain that all the new dining spots are too expensive.

 

The restaurant scenes of many neighborhoods are increasingly geared to diners who can afford $15 or $16 for the pleasure of a cocktail before ordering a pricey Merlot. Want other kinds of restaurants to thrive?

 

Make liquor licenses cheaper.

 

Doing so hardly invites a dystopia. In Oregon, our looser, more egalitarian neighbor to the north, restaurateurs pay $400 for a state liquor license, plus $100 to the city of Portland for a municipal license, if that's where they want to open. Portland's culinary scene is more creative, delicious and fair by virtue of the fact that anyone from the biggest restaurant group to the aspiring chef to the refugee family with a flair for cooking can plausibly execute any concept they want without prohibitive licensing costs.

 

Shouldn't everyone in our restaurant industry have a shot?

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MILLENNIALS LOVE DINING OUT 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 9:19:00 AM

New survey says that this generation eats out at least five times a week.

 

Source: NACS

June 27, 2017

 

Millennials are falling victim to what Bankrate.com calls "common financial vices," such as spending money in coffee shops, racking up bar tabs or frequently dining out.

 

According to a new study from Bankrate.com, the average millennial dines at a restaurant or buys take-out food five times per week and 29% of millennials say they buy coffee at least three times per week.

 

"Often, it's the minor, habitual expenses, such as take-out and alcohol, that wreak havoc on your budget," said Sarah Berger of Bankrate.com. "Small steps, such as preparing meals at home and brewing your own coffee, can add up to big savings over the course of a year."

 

Overall, Americans are doing a better job with "financial vices." The survey found that 59% of Americans say they don't purchase any brewed coffee or tea in a typical week, 73% say they don't buy alcoholic drinks at bars or restaurants each week and 40% of Americans say they buy take-out or dine at a restaurant no more than once per week.

 

However, millennials have different spending habits than their elders. Bankrate.com found that 54% of younger millennials eat out at least three times per week, compared to 33% of Gen Xers and 32% of Baby Boomers. In addition, 42% of all millennials and 51% between the ages of 21-26 typically go to a bar at least once a week, versus 24% of Gen Xers and 19% of Baby Boomers.

 

"A recent survey conducted by Bankrate.com measuring Americans' emergency savings showed that just 16% of younger millennials have saved the recommended six months' worth of expenses. Money saved from packing lunch and passing on lattes would be a smart investment in building that emergency fund," Berger added.

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Why Off-Premise Consumption is Eating into On-Premise Performance 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 9:19:00 AM

Source: Wine & Spirits Daily

June 27, 2017

As American consumers increase their alcohol intake at home, the on-premise channel shifted some share over to off-premise in 2016, a trend both Nielsen and IWSR have pointed out to your editors recently.

In a presentation during the annual NABCA convention, Nielsen's Danny Brager shared that volume growth for wine grew 1.5% off-premise and 1.2% on-premise, while spirits volumes grew 2% off-premise and 1.4% on-premise.

According to Nielsen, the key reasons consumers are opting to spend more time drinking at home include: 

.           Popularity of pre-gaming

.           E-commerce

.           Prepared meals/ meal kits

.           Airbnb taking people out of hotel bars

.           More people working from home (lunch impact)

.           Drinking/driving laws

.           Cost/value of drinks under more scrutiny

"The transparency of on-premise mark-ups makes it easier for people to weigh the cost of eating out and paying $12.00 for a glass of wine, versus buying that same bottle of wine for $24.99," IWSR's Brandy Rand tells WSD.

Zeroing in on what IWSR considers the two most important factors behind the increase off-premise, convenience and cost, Brandy says: "Most people believe they can make a meal or cocktail at home better--and cheaper--than going out," she says. In addition, prepared foods at grocery stores are on the rise, and replacing casual dining. "In the end, it's about what's most convenient," says Brandy, and technology is making at-home consumption more convenient.

Subscription food and beverage services, and meal kits like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, allow consumers to get their hands on items that might not be available in their neighborhood grocery store, which they might have formerly relied on on-premise for.

 "As more and more technology is actually enabling and telling people what to buy, that brand experience and brand resonance becomes crucially important," said Jordan Rost, Nielsen's vp of consumer insights, at the NABCA convention.

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Is big alcohol taking a hit from legal weed? 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 10:23:00 AM

According to one survey, some Gen Xers and boomers are making the switch from alcohol to pot.

Source: Salon

PAUL ARMENTANO

June 21, 2017

Consumer trend data compiled by OutCo and Monocle Research finds that many California twenty-somethings, post-legalization, are switching from beer to pot. Marketers surveyed 2,000 cannabis consumers in seven major California cities. One-third of millennial respondents said that they are choosing cannabis over beer. One out of five acknowledged substituting weed for wine, and 14 percent admitted consuming herb rather than hard alcohol.

Older respondents, including baby boomers, also reported making the switch from booze to pot. According to the survey, 20 percent of Gen Xers and eight percent of boomers similarly acknowledged substituting pot in place of alcohol.

The findings provide further credence to a December 2016 report from the Cowan & Company research firm which determined that beer sales by major distributors - including Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors - have "collectively underperformed" over the past two years in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In Denver, arguably the epicenter for the marijuana retail sales market, beer sales have fallen nearly seven percent, analysists concluded.

A March 2017 research report by the Cannabiz Consumer Group similarly indicates that cannabis is cutting in on beer's popularity. Researchers reported that 27 percent drinkers surveyed said that they had either substituted cannabis for beer, or that they would do so in the future if retail weed sales become legal. The company estimated that beer sales could decline by as much as $2 billion if cannabis was legal nationwide.

Questions concerning whether cannabis typically acts as a substitute or as a complement to alcohol remain ongoing. But a 2014 literature review published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism indicates that the weight of the available evidence supports the former theory - particularly among young adults. Authors concluded: "While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorder), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol. Perhaps more importantly, cannabis is both safer and potentially less addictive than benzodiazepines and other pharmaceuticals that have been evaluated as substitutes for alcohol."

Survey data from states where medical cannabis has long been legally available frequently report declines in alcohol consumption. For instance, a 2011 patient survey from California reported that those qualified to access medicinal cannabis used alcohol at rates that were "significantly lower" than those of the general public. More recently, a study published this year in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that over 40 percent of state-registered medical marijuana patients acknowledged reducing their alcohol intake after initiating cannabis therapy.

Polling data finds that most Americans, and those between the ages 18 to 40 in particular, now believe that cannabis is far less harmful to health than alcohol. Their belief is supported by the relevant science. For example, alcohol possesses a dependence liability that is nearly twice that of cannabis, is a far greater contributor to traffic accidents, and is capable of causing organ failure and even death by overdose. According to a 2011 study comparing the physical, psychological, and social impact of the two substances: "A direct comparison of alcohol and cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to [individual] users, and five times more harmful as cannabis to others (society). . As there are few areas of harm that each drug can produce where cannabis scores more [dangerous to health] than alcohol, we suggest that even if there were no legal impediment to cannabis use, it would be unlikely to be more harmful than alcohol."

The fact that the legal marijuana market may pose potential challenges for the alcohol beverage industry is hardly going unnoticed. The topic was front and center at the 2016 Beer Industry Summit, according to reports from attendees. And last year, industry players contributed funds against voter-initiated legalization measures in Arizona and Massachusetts. (The Massachusetts initiative passed while the Arizona measure was defeated.)

Yet, given the ubiquitous role alcohol plays in American culture, it is hard to imagine a scenario where the emerging legal marijuana market presents a serious threat to Big Booze any time soon. After all, while federal lawmakers have endorsed Congressional resolutions "commending" US beer sales, they simultaneously refuse to amend federal law to even permit marijuana businesses to have relationships with banks or take standard payroll deductions. In short, as long as booze remains king on Capitol Hill, the cannabis industry will continue be engaged in an uphill battle for both respectability and market share.

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Alcohol border sales trouble brewing between Illinois and Indiana 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:52:00 AM

Source: Illinois News Network

June 25, 2017

Illinois is already losing out on alcohol sales, and changes to Indiana's alcohol sales regulations could add to the state's revenue woes.

With high alcohol taxes in Illinois and neighboring Indiana showing an interest in relaxing strict alcohol regulations, Illinois distributors fear alcohol sales could move out of state. 

In Indiana, cold beer can be sold only in liquor stores and no alcohol sales are allowed on Sundays except at restaurants. In a recent poll, though, 71 percent of Indiana supported allowing more cold beer sales and 65 percent approved of Sunday alcohol sales.

Bob Myers, president of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, emphasized that changes to Indiana's alcohol sales laws could bring tougher times to retailers in Illinois benefiting from patrons crossing the border. 

"When Indiana changes those laws, it's going to end, causing more competition for our Illinois retailers, and it could end up having a very adverse effect on sales," Myers said.  

Myers noted that while some Indiana residents might come to Illinois for alcohol on a Sunday or to stock up on cold beer, Illinois residents are just as often crossing the border to avoiding paying higher alcohol prices due to taxes. 

"In Illinois, the tax on beer is 23.1 cents per gallon; in Indiana it's like half that amount - around 11.5 cents per gallon," Myers said. "They're already at a competitive advantage because of the fact their taxes are so much cheaper."

According to Myers, a study revealed that Illinois is losing between $15 million and $30 million per year in cross-border alcohol sales. That number could go up If Indiana loosens its alcohol regulations and Illinois residents look for savings. 

"Not only does the state of Illinois charge a tax on beer wine and spirits, but so does the county of Cook, and so does the city of Chicago," Myers said. "So by time you pay all of your tax, somewhere in the neighborhood of about 48 to 49 percent of that beer that you just purchased was tax alone."

Myers has heard of retailers being caught going to Indiana, purchasing enough alcohol to fill up a trailer and bringing it back to Illinois to avoid paying the higher taxes. 

"When you have situations like that, Illinois not only loses what they call the 'gallonage' tax the tax distributors pay, but we also lose the sales tax, because once those retailers go over and they purchase products illegally and they bring it back to Illinois to sell it illegally, chances are they're not going to be applying the applicable sales tax to those drinks," Myers said.

 

Myers said if Indiana changes its alcohol regulations to expand sales, more money could be leaving Illinois

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WSWA President and CEO Statement on Ruling to Dismiss Lebamoff Enterprises v. Rauner 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:50:00 AM

Wholesaler Chief Says Ruling Again Demonstrates Courts' Long-Standing and Repeated Support for Primary State Authority and Three-Tier System

Source: WSWA

June 23rd

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) President and CEO Craig Wolf today issued the below statement following a recent Illinois court ruling that reinforced the constitutionality and important societal benefits of the three-tier system of beverage alcohol regulation. The Illinois decision is just one of numerous recent court decisions across multiple states each upholding these important principles.

The ruling was issued June 8 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Lebamoff Enterprises v. Rauner.  District Judge Der-Yeghiayan held that Illinois law prohibiting an out-of-state retailer from directly shipping beverage-alcohol to an in-state consumer, did not violate the Commerce Clause. 

"To allow Out-of-State Plaintiffs to operate outside the three-tier system in Illinois, while in-state retailers diligently operate within the regulatory system and help to limit the potential social problems connected with improper use of alcohol, would actually provide Out-of-State Plaintiffs with an unfair advantage over the in-state retailers rather than remove any self-perceived disadvantage to Plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs' Commerce Clause claims in this action thus seek to foster unfair advantages in commerce, which is ironically contrary to the Commerce Clause," the ruling noted.  It further stated that plaintiffs' claims of discriminatory treatment is an attempt to circumvent the Illinois statutory scheme designed to protect the Illinois public. 

"For over eight decades, primary state authority and a strong regulatory framework have been guiding principles of the three-tier system of beverage alcohol manufacture, distribution and sales.  The modern three-tier system enables American consumers to enjoy the widest selection of products available anywhere in the world, while guaranteeing appropriate regulatory oversight, efficient tax collection, as well as a commitment to social responsibility and opposition to underage access," said WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf.

A complete copy of Judge Der-Yeghiayan's ruling is here.  http://www.wswa.org/library/6-8-17_Opinion_MTD_Granted.pdf

"WSWA supports the rights of states to regulate alcohol within their borders as granted by the Twenty-first Amendment.  Judge Der-Yeghiayan's ruling includes strong language in support of a well-regulated three-tier system and the principle of primary state authority," Wolf added.  "This ruling is a powerful blow against those who seek to work around, not within, the nation's long-standing and consistently upheld beverage-alcohol laws."

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Legal pot and car crashes: Yes, there's a link 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:42:00 AM

 

By Ed LeefeldtMoneyWatch June 22, 2017, 12:01 AM

Does driving while high have any impact on auto accident rates? Legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Oregon and Washington correlates to about a 3 percent increase in auto collision claim frequencies compared to states without such legislation, according to a new Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study. It's the first one the group has conducted since the drug went on sale legally.

"More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes," the study said.

The HLDI is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research organization that usually focuses on figuring out which cars are safest. The group is funded by auto insurance companies, which have a vested interest in not having to pay claims and -- of course -- hold a bias against impaired driving of any kind.

According to the HLDI, past researchers haven't been able to "definitively connect marijuana use with real-world crashes," and even a federal study failed to find such a link. "Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use have also been inconclusive," said the HLDI.

Instead, the group focused on three states -- Colorado, where legal marijuana retail sales started in 2014, as well as Oregon and Washington, where sales began in 2015 -- and compared them to the collision claims in neighboring states such as Nevada and Utah, parts of which now allow only medical marijuana. It also factored in statistics regarding the three states where recreational use is now legal from before it became available to the general public.

Colorado saw the largest estimated increase in claim frequency -- 14 percent more than its bordering states, while Washington state was 6 percent greater and Oregon had a 4 percent increase. Allowing for the total control group, "the combined effect for the three states was a smaller, but still significant at 3 percent," said HLDI Vice President Matt Moore.

The group used collision claims because they are the most frequent kind insurers receive. Drivers file these claims for damage to their vehicle in a crash with an object or with another vehicle, generally when the driver is at fault, the HLDI said.

The HLDI said it's preparing for more of these studies and has already begun a "large-scale case-control study" in Oregon to find out if usage could be causing automotive injuries.

But the auto insurance industry's position on legalized marijuana is already crystal clear. "Worries that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates aren't misplaced," said David Zuby, chief research officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "The HLDI's findings on the early experience in Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause."

 

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Illinois: Breakthru Beverage Group and Freixenet USA Expand Partnership in Illinois 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:35:00 AM

Source: Res Publica

June 22, 2017

 

Breakthru Beverage Group today announced that it is expanding its sales partnership with Freixenet USA. Beginning July 1, Breakthru will offer Freixenet USA's portfolio of premier wines in Illinois. The portfolio includes Freixenet, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Mia, René Barbier, Ferrer Family Wines, Deakin Estate, Finca Ferrer, and Katnook Estate.

 

"We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Breakthru in many markets, and we are excited to leverage their Illinois team's passion for selling fine wines on behalf of Freixenet USA. At Freixenet USA, we take great pride in our celebrated brands and heritage, and we look forward to strengthening our commitment to our partnership with Breakthru," said Tom Burnet, President of Freixenet USA.

 

Freixenet, a fifth-generation, family-run company founded in 1861, currently boasts the number one selling Cava in the world and the number two selling imported sparkling wine in the United States. In addition to the Illinois market, Breakthru currently distributes Freixenet USA's wines in Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

 

"Breakthru is thrilled to expand our relationship with Freixenet USA and to bring their portfolio to one of the most important markets in the county," said Greg Baird, President and CEO of Breakthru Beverage Group. "As we continue to grow our portfolio in a strategic, meaningful way, we seek partners whose values are in line with those we hold at Breakthru. We have the highest respect for their commitment to produce high caliber wines and Cava at great value to consumers. We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship with our partners at Freixenet."

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