A Tattoo That Knows When You're Drunk (Additional Coverage) 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 4:36:00 PM


Daniel Akst

Aug. 11, 2016


Sometimes, after a few drinks, people get a tattoo. Now there's a tattoo that can tell if you've had a few drinks. Best of all, it's temporary.


Researchers at the Center for Wearable Sensors at the University of California, San Diego, have come up with a removable electronic tattoo that can sense your blood-alcohol level from the sweat on your skin and then send this information via Bluetooth to a smartphone or car computer.


The UCSD device is part of a boom in wearable sensors of all kinds-a surge enabled by the rise of smartphones, which can keep track of the data these sensors produce.


Scientists have been particularly interested in alcohol monitoring. Breathalyzer devices don't offer continual monitoring, and their results can be skewed by mouthwash, for example, or alcohol residue in saliva. Wearable devices that passively detect alcohol in sweat from the user's skin-which are sometimes mandated by judges and have been known to crop up in embarrassing photos of celebrities-can offer continuous monitoring, but the gadgets tend to be bulky and expensive.


In May, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (part of the National Institutes of Health) announced the winner of its Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge, which it launched in 2015 to promote innovation. The first prize, of $200,000, was awarded to a bracelet-type device made by San Francisco-based firm called BACtrack, a pioneer of consumer-oriented breathalyzers, some of which already work with smartphones.


BACtrack's founder and chief executive officer, Keith Nothacker, says that the firm is working on algorithms to derive accurate blood-alcohol results from ethanol detected on the skin. But for many users, he noted, the main question will be whether there is any sign of alcohol use at all. A positive result could be communicated to a spouse, sobriety mentor or probation officer, for example, since the device can relay its findings to a smartphone via Bluetooth. Mr. Nothacker says that he hopes to distribute prototypes of the BACtrack Skyn-the prize-winning sensor-in the months ahead and then bring it to market for around $99, eventually offering a version that serves as a band for the Apple Watch.


The Skyn relies on "insensible" sweat, or trace amounts that you don't even know you have. In an effort to get fast, accurate results with a one-time test while avoiding the pitfalls of breathalyzers, the UCSD device goes another route: It contains a small amount of pilocarpine, a medication normally used to treat dry mouth and other health problems. Applied topically, the drug induces a little sweat where the device's electrodes can use it, letting the sensor get results in about 15 minutes.


The UCSD tattoo is attached to a flexible, inch-long circuit board for processing and relaying data. But Joseph Wang, one of the project scientists, says that the reusable board could probably be made much smaller with some additional engineering. He adds that the disposable tattoos cost just pennies to produce, and his lab is working on a version that works all day.


Cheap, reliable alcohol monitoring through the skin could have a variety of applications. Computers in cars could lock the ignition if they detected a reading above a worrisome threshold, especially if a motorist has had a drunken-driving conviction. Bartenders could use the sensors to tell when it's time to cut off a customer. Or for people concerned about their own drinking, wearing the monitoring device could offer passive intake recording that is probably more accurate than memory-and not subject to fudging.


"Noninvasive Alcohol Monitoring Using a Wearable Tattoo-based Iontophoretic-Biosensing System," Jayoung Kim, Itthipon Jeerapan, Somayeh Imani, Thomas N. Cho, Amay Jairaj Bandodkar, Stefano Cinti, Patrick P. Mercier and Joseph Wang, ACS Sensors (July 12)

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Booze, not Blackhawks, built Wirtz wealth; grandson helps lead evolving firm 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 4:34:00 PM

Source: Chicago Tribune

Greg Trotter

August 10, 2016


Little known fact: Before the Bulls and Blackhawks achieved United Center glory, Danny Wirtz and the Loyola Academy Ramblers won the state hockey championship there in 1995, just a year after the facility co-owned by the Wirtz family opened.


More than 20 years later, Danny - son of Rocky Wirtz and grandson of the late Bill Wirtz - is leading his family's lower-profile, higher-revenue alcohol wholesale business into a new era in a changing industry.


Earlier this year, the Wirtz Beverage Group merged with New York-based Charmer Sunbelt to form Breakthru Beverage Group, the third largest alcohol distributor in the country. Almost immediately, there were challenges: Bacardi - supplier of Bacardi rum, Bombay Sapphire gin and Dewar's Scotch whisky - announced it was leaving the newly combined Breakthru and taking its business to competitor Southern Glazer's, the largest alcohol wholesaler in the U.S.


"It was a significant hit. But at the same time, as wholesalers, we're able to bounce back. ... We're in a great spot and we don't look back," said Wirtz, 39, vice chairman of Breakthru Beverage.


The Wirtz family name is inextricably linked to the Blackhawks, in good times and in bad. When Bill Wirtz died in 2007, ownership of the team passed to his son, Rocky. But the alcohol distribution business, which dates back to 1945, has been more lucrative than the family's hockey team, real estate holdings or insurance business. And Breakthru, with $6 billion in revenue and operating in 16 markets, including Canada, has plans to keep growing, Danny Wirtz said.


Running the family booze business wasn't always the plan. After growing up in Winnetka and attending Boston College, Wirtz pursued a passion for music and, eventually, brands, working for marketing firms in New York and London before returning to Chicago in 2007. Now he lives in Ukrainian Village with his wife, Anne, and two daughters, ages 4 and 7.


In a recent interview with the Tribune, Wirtz explained what brought him back and why he's excited for the future of Breakthru Beverage. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Q: What was it like growing up a Wirtz kid?


A: We were very, very lucky and privileged to be able to go to great schools. I'm not going to say it was a hardship. But it was unfortunately a challenge during some tough times for the Blackhawks. ... We were always proud to represent the family and stood behind our grandfather and my dad, and all the things that they did, but there were some tough years there.


Q: Did you all along feel the pull of the family business or did you have different things you wanted to do?


A: To be honest with you, I think in all family businesses, you either jump in or run the opposite direction. My path was definitely the opposite direction. I was interested in music, entertainment, marketing.


Q: Was there a single moment or defining experience where you knew you were coming back to work for Wirtz Beverage?


A: When you're in your early 20s, it's about getting away and doing your own thing, which I was happy I did. Then you're approaching almost 10 years of experience and skills and you've earned some things on your own, and you start to feel pride - is there anything I'm doing now that I could bring back to the family? ... My grandfather passes away, I already have this idea of giving back to the family, and lo and behold, there's actually a position opened up in our Diageo division for luxury marketing brand manager, which as a job description sounded perfect to me. So it's amazing how things sort of just open up and fall into place.


Q: Do you and Rocky talk on a daily basis? Is he that involved in the business?


A: To be honest, he's very deferential. This is his approach with the executives who work for him. He's not calling up (Blackhawks President) John McDonough every day, he's not hounding our managers. He does not believe in micromanagement. He hires good people and let's them run. And he's taken that approach with me.


Q: What led to the merger with Charmer Sunbelt?


A: We see the world similarly. What a great opportunity to combine two great companies and be very aspirational about forming something new for the industry. That was really the impetus. It came very natural. It wasn't forced. It came from a desire to do something better.


Q: In practical terms, though, what does that mean?


A: Obviously, we're able to operate in a broader footprint. It diversifies our markets. We're able to operate in different types of markets. We're now able to do, as a new company, significantly more business with our core supplier partners. We represent a larger piece of their total business across the markets. And as this new company, we're able to reinvest in our business in a more significant level.


Q: Are there consumer trends that are affecting how Breakthru conducts its business?


A: In general, we have to stay very nimble. The rate of change is faster than it's ever been. ... It used to be that you sort of identified with a brand when you were in your 20s and you stayed with it. Now, the millennial consumer is driving so much change and jumping from, not just brands, but categories.


Q: Are there any emerging threats to the system, such as on-demand delivery, that you're keeping an eye on?


A: The concept of on-demand (delivery) or having an e-commerce experience is different for our products. I think the challenge for the industry is how do we provide consumers with that kind of experience but do it in a way that follows the laws.


Q: What about eBay Wine or Amazon (selling wine)?


A: Definitely a threat depending on the market and the laws. You have to start with: What are the laws in place? It also goes to the strength of good retailers. Hopefully, retailers are doing everything they can to bring people into their stores and brands are being built in stores so our products don't become commoditized or ordered in an online environment as staple products, like toilet paper or shoes.


Q: Is it forcing Breakthru to change its model?


A: 100 percent. I don't want to be the person saying 10 years ago, 'No one will ever buy shoes on the internet.' Look at where that world is going. The internet will impact our business one way or another. I think all stakeholders in this business are just trying to figure out how.


Q: What do you think your dad's legacy will be and how do you want yours to be different?


A: I think his legacy will be he dramatically improved all of our businesses, took them into new places, reinvented them and he hopefully is going to hand that on to our next generation in a better place. ... As it relates to my legacy, I'm early stages before laying down that groundwork. But hopefully if I follow his lead, it would be to do the things to take the company to the next level.


Q: What's your go-to drink?


A: I love a good Manhattan. ... But a Manhattan on a day like today is probably not my choice. It's probably more a margarita or a light sessionable craft beer. But in the middle of a nice, harsh Chicago winter, a nice Manhattan's great. But I'm an equal opportunity consumer of cocktails.

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Illinois Governor Urged To Veto Wine Drinkers Felony Bill 

Friday, August 12, 2016 4:50:00 PM

National Association of Wine Retailers Urges End To Unconstitutional Law Limiting Wine Shipments


Source: National Association of Wine Retailers

Tom Wark, Executive Director

August 8th


The National Association of Wine Retailers today delivered a letter to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner urging him to veto a bill that would turn Illinois wine drinkers and the retailer they procure wine from into felons. That would be the result of the governor signing SB 2989, currently awaiting his signature or veto.


Senate Bill 2989 (Sponsor-Clayborne) would make it a felony for an Illinois wine drinker to ship wine to their home address from outside the state, as well as turn out-of-state wine stores into felons for the crime of shipping wine to Illinois consumers. Currently, Illinois prohibits shipments of wine from out-of-state if they are shipped by the Illinois resident or an out-of-state wine store or Internet retailer.


Illinois law currently allows Illinois-based wineries and wine stores and out-of-state wineries to ship wine to Illinoisans, but prohibits the same practice by out-of-state wine stores. The restriction was put in place in 2008 at the behest of Illinois wine and beer distributors in order to protect them from competition. This discrimination violates the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause that requires equal treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests such as wine stores.


The letter from the NAWR to Governor Rauner reads:


Dear Governor Rauner:


We at the National Association of Wine Retailers urge you to veto SB 2989. The alternative is to sign this shortsighted bill and turn Illinois wine lovers into felons for the "crime" of arranging to ship a bottle of Pinot Noir to themselves. A far more reasonable policy would be to support a law that unambiguously allows Illinois consumers to have wine shipped to them from out-of-state wine stores and to collect sales taxes for the state in the process.


The problem with SB 2989 is that it doubles down on an already unconstitutional Illinois law that discriminates against interstate commerce for the purposes of protecting Illinois wine wholesalers from competing in a 21st century wine marketplace. While allowing Illinois wine stores to ship wine directly to the doors of Illinois wine consumers, the current law bars out-of-state wine stores from doing the same. That's not right. That's not fair. That's not consumer friendly. That's not constitutional. But that's what SB 2989 preserves.


Violations of this unconstitutional law are currently a misdemeanor. Sign SB 2989 and you would make felons out of an Illinois wine lovers who ship wine to themselves that they obtained out of state as well as out-of-state wine stores that ship wine to Illinois consumers who only wanted to obtain the wine they could not find locally.


If your concern is to heighten regulation surrounding the sale and shipment of wine from out-of-state wine stores, the simple solution is to license these out-of-state wine stores and Internet wine retailers, require they remit taxes to Illinois on sales to Illinois residents and place the stores under the legal jurisdiction of Illinois by licensing them. Only by doing this will Illinois have full tax and legal jurisdiction over retail wine shipments originating outside your state.


Your choice is clear, Governor. Support opening Illinois to wine shipments from out-of-state wine stores and reap millions in tax revenue while reducing enforcement costs. Or sign SB2989 and thereby turn Illinois consumers into felons, while doubling down on an unconstitutional law that discriminates against legitimate interstate commerce.




Tom Wark, Executive Director

National Association of Wine Retailers.


It is estimated that Illinois would reap upwards of $5 million in tax revenue by simply allowing out-of-state retailers to obtain the same permit that out-of-state wineries apply for and allow them to ship wine directly to Illinois residents. Currently, wineries that obtain such a permit remit taxes to Illinois and submit themselves to Illinois legal jurisdiction. However, currently, due to the ban on shipments from out-of-state wine stores, Illinois has no legal or taxing jurisdiction over out-of-state wine retailers that fulfill Illinois consumers' requests to buy wines they are willing to seek outside the state due to their inability to find them in the state.


"The bill currently on Governor Rauner's desk would not only continue to perpetuate an unconstitutional restriction on interstate commerce and cost the state millions in enforcement efforts and lost tax revenue, but also turn Illinois citizens into felons when their arrange to have wine purchased outside the state shipped to their home address," said Tom Wark, Executive Director of the NAWR. "It's a profoundly anti-consumer, protectionist and expensive way to shield local wine distributors from the kind of competition that every other business in Illinois is required to be exposed to."

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Honored ILBA Member Albert Henry Pierantoni Passes Away 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 9:11:00 AM

Illinois Licensed Beverage Association

Honored ILBA Member Albert Henry Pierantoni Passes Away

Albert Henry Pierantoni, age 97, of Highwood, Ill., passed away on July 26, 2016, at his daughter's home, surrounded by family. During his 30-year tenure as owner of Al and Jane's Restaurant in Highwood, he was an honored member of the National Licensed Beverage Association and the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, and was influential in shaping state liquor laws.

Albert Henry Pierantoni

  • MAZOMANIE - Albert Henry Pierantoni, age 97, of Highwood, Ill., passed away on July 26, 2016, at his daughter's home, surrounded by family. He was born on Oct. 25, 1918, in Litchfield, Ill. He was the beloved husband of the late Jane (nee Monciwodzinski); loving father of Daniel (late Karen) and Sally (John Quisling); fond grandfather of Jason (Claire) Quisling, Mark (Sandy) Pierantoni, Joshua Quisling, Danielle (William) Nasello, and Michol (Greg) Banes; cherished great-grandfather of Justine, Nicholas, Corinne, Josephine, Gianna, Nathan, Greyson, Yvangeline, and the late Eric; dear brother of the late Pete, Fred (Lottie), Ernie (Kay), Stella (Waddy) Pigati, and Alba (Tunney) Neunaber.

  • During his 30 year tenure as owner of Al and Jane's Restaurant in Highwood, he was an honored member of the National Licensed Beverage Association and the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, and was influential in shaping state liquor laws. He was a driving force in the development and expansion of the Highwood Public Library. His love for all, including troubled youth, led him to become one of the largest private fundraisers for Sky Ranch for Boys. His value of joy and laughter, unrelenting hard work, his principles and constant wisdom remain a part of all those who knew and loved him.

  • A funeral Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Saturday, July 30, 2016, at St. James Catholic Church, Highwood, Ill. Interment followed at Ascension Cemetery, Libertyville, Ill. Contributions may be made to the Highwood Historical Society, P.O. Box 132, Highwood, IL 60040. For information, please contact the Seguin & Symonds Funeral Home, Highwood Ill. (847) 432-3878.

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MIC Coalition Applauds DOJ Action to Protect Consumers' Access to Music  

Monday, August 08, 2016 5:44:00 AM

Ed. Note: 

ABL is a member of the MIC Coalition, and promotes greater transparency in music licensing. 


MIC Coalition Applauds DOJ Action to Protect Consumers' Access to Music 

Supports Decision to Maintain Protections Against PRO Anti-Competitive Business Practices

Today the MIC Coalition, a group of associations whose members provide music over the nation's airwaves, through the Internet and in stores, hotels, restaurants, bars and taverns through the country, released the following statement on the conclusion of the Justice Department Antitrust Division's review of consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI: 

"The MIC Coalition applauds the Department of Justice Antitrust Division for completing a thorough, multi-year review of the longstanding voluntary consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI after consideration of extensive input from music publishers, music users and the PROs themselves. 

The decision to maintain current protections against anti-competitive behavior ensures that even though ASCAP and BMI control more than 90% of the U.S. music marketplace, music licensees can continue to access music under a system that fairly compensates music creators for their work. 

DOJ is absolutely correct in clarifying that music users who purchase ASCAP and BMI blanket licenses unambiguously obtain the unlimited right to play the songs in these organizations' repertoires. ASCAP and BMI's own contracts and public representations of their licenses make clear that this is and always has been standard operating procedure.  Deviating from this widely accepted practice would significantly harm consumers, services, venues and songwriters. 

ASCAP and BMI's massive market power remains as real a threat to a fair and competition-driven music marketplace as it has ever been. DOJ's decision to maintain the current protections of the consent decrees appropriately serves as a check against antitrust violations that would create unworkable cost and complexity for those looking to play music publicly." 


  • The MIC Coalition comprises companies, associations, consumer groups, and venue owners seeking to preserve the right to stream or play music at affordable prices for customers in places like restaurants, bars, venues, retail locations or via online music services.

  • Currently, any songwriter or publisher who belongs to a PRO provides the right to license out their songs for performance (broadcast, streaming, playing) in public. 
  • Music users typically purchase a "blanket license" from a PRO, which covers all of the songs registered with that PRO. 
  • ASCAP and BMI's own documentation and contracts make clear that blanket licenses provide the right to play musical works as a 'whole,' and do not limit those who purchase such a license to 'fractional' interest in songs.
  • In public comments submitted to the DOJ during its review, ASCAP stated, "ASCAP's membership is as varied as its repertory, which represents every genre of music; a blanket license permits a licensee equal access to all or any types of music in the repertory, whether top 40 hits or older, rarely performed catalog works."

  • In defining the blanket licenses they sell to music users, ASCAP's website states, "'Blanket license' is a license which allows the music user to perform any or all of over 8.5 million songs in the ASCAP repertory as much or as little as they like. Licensees pay an annual fee for the license. The blanket license saves music users the paperwork, trouble and expense of finding and negotiation licenses with all of the copyright owners of the works that might be used during a year and helps prevent the user from even inadvertently infringing on the copyrights of ASCAP's member and the many foreign writers whose music is licensed by ASCAP in the U.S."

  • description of the services BMI provides on its website states, "Our Music Licenses offer copyright clearance to use all of the works in the BMI repertoire in a variety of ways. This service saves music users the immense time and expense of contacting each songwriter or composer for permission to play their music publicly."
  • The idea of "fractional licensing" would undermine the self-proclaimed rationale for ASCAP and BMI's existence as a one-stop shop for the purchase of public performance rights.
  • Beginning in 1941, and updated as recently as 2001, ASCAP and BMI have operated under voluntary consent decrees designed to limit their collusive business practices and prevent price fixing and other behavior the Justice Department alleged to be anti-competitive. 
  • In 2014, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice announced a review of the consent decrees, including consideration of a PRO proposed scheme providing for the partial withdrawal of some rights and fractional licensing, to determine whether the new era of digital music and the democratization of music creation, production and performance necessitated new ground rules.

  • After extensive public comment and a lengthy review, the Antitrust Division chose not to alter the current prohibition on the "partial withdrawal" of licensing rights by a copyright holder (i.e. a PRO cannot decide to license a song to a musical outlet such as a bar, restaurant or AM/FM radio station, while refusing to license the same song to an online music service.). DOJ rightly determined that allowing such an unprecedented practice would be contrary to the underlying principles of the consent decrees and broadly detrimental to the music industry and consumers.

Similarly, DOJ considered and chose not to adopt a new policy providing "fractional licensing". Under the current consent decrees, a licensee need only obtain license from one copyright holder in order to perform a work. For a song with multiple copyright holders, anyone with a license from any PRO can play the song publicly. The PRO is then responsible to ensure that all the copyright holders get compensated as their contracts dictate. Again, DOJ correctly determined that "fractional licensing" requiring licensees to obtain separate permission from each and every copyright holder individually before being permitted to perform a song would create gridlock in the music industry, increase complexity for small and medium-sized businesses and drive up costs for musical performance, ultimately hurting music lovers and creative artists alike.

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Mastercard: Chip cards cut fraud by 60% 

Monday, August 08, 2016 5:43:00 AM


Al Urbanski

August 3, 2016


Credit card fraud is down by more than 60% at Mastercard's top five EMV-enabled merchants since chip cards were introduced late last year, according to the company.


"Mastercard has helped over 150 countries adopt EMV and, time and again, we've seen the same result - significant reductions in counterfeit card fraud," said Chiro Aikat, Mastercard's senior VP of EMV product delivery.


Mastercard reports that 8 out of 10 of its U.S. cardholders have chips and counts 1.7 million chip-active merchants on its network - about 30% of total U.S. retailers. During a similar appraisal in May, Visa estimated 1.2 million stores were chip enabled.


Still, many retailers that have installed chip-ready card readers still are asking shoppers to swipe. According to a report in the Washington Post, significant numbers of those stores bought the hardware but still have not installed the software necessary to switch them over to EMV approvals. In some cases, retailers have installed the software but are still waiting for completion of the certification process that Ok's payments.


To address the problem, Mastercard cut the number of tests retailers need to perform by more than 50%, ceding retailers greater discretion in deciding when their terminals are ready for deployment. The company has also introduced a tap-and-go technology called M/Chip Fast that make the EMV approval process close to the speed of swiping.

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The smart stick-on tattoo that can monitor your alcohol levels - and even call police if you're over the limit (Additional Coverage) 

Monday, August 08, 2016 5:39:00 AM

Monitor a wearer's sweat to test blood alcohol levels

Links to a smartphone app to show users their results

Can be adapted to be used by police and doctors to monitor people

Source: Daily Mail

By Mark Prigg

3 August 2016

A new smart stick on tattoo will be able to monitor exactly how much a person is drinking.

The flexible patch can detect a person's blood-alcohol level from their sweat.

It can even message doctors and even police if the wearer drinks too much.

In the U.S., one person dies every 53 minutes in an alcohol-related car accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, ignition interlock devices are being marketed as a way to prevent drunk drivers from starting a car engine.

But these are based on breath analysis, which can be affected by a number of factors including humidity, temperature and whether someone has used mouthwash.

The monitor, reported in the journal ACS Sensors, works quickly and can send results wirelessly to a smartphone or other device.

Recent research has demonstrated that sweat can be a more reliable real-time indicator of blood alcohol content.

At least two transdermal sensors have been developed to measure alcohol levels in sweat, but users have to wait up to 2 hours for results.

Joseph Wang, Patrick Mercier and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego, set out to make a more practical version.

With temporary-tattoo paper, the researchers developed a patch that tests blood alcohol content non-invasively in three rapid steps.

It induces sweat by delivering a small amount of the drug pilocarpine across the skin.

An enzymatic reaction leads to the electrochemical detection of the alcohol content.

And a flexible electronic circuit board transmits the data via a Bluetooth connection to a mobile device or laptop.

With temporary-tattoo paper, the researchers developed a patch that tests blood alcohol content non-invasively in three rapid steps.

The steps take less than 8 minutes from start to finish.

In addition to connecting to vehicles' ignition interlock systems, the sensor could be a simple tool for bartenders, friends or law enforcement to use, the researchers say.

Read more:

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This is a reminder to help you achieve full, timely compliance with the Municipal Code of Chicago; three new laws go into effect on July 1st and August 1st. 

Monday, August 08, 2016 5:29:00 AM
                                           Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection 
                                                                             City of Chicago 
                                                                                                                   August 1, 2016
Dear Retailer,
This is a reminder to help you achieve full, timely compliance with the Municipal Code of Chicago; three new laws go into effect on July 1st and August 1st.
Tobacco 21:
Beginning July 1, 2016, the sale of tobacco products and accessories to people under age 21 will be prohibited.  Retail employees age 18 and older may still engage in selling tobacco products. It is now illegal to sell tobacco products to those under age 21.
Additionally, you may be required to post a new warning sign. In stores that have a Retail Tobacco License, a new warning sign reflecting the new age of 21 must be posted by July 1, 2016. Please remember that as the retailer, it is now illegal to sell tobacco products to those under 21. You are responsible for any violations committed by your employees, staff, or agents. You can get a copy of this warning sign on the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection website on the tobacco regulations webpage.
Minimum Wage Increase:
Effective July 1st the new hourly minimum wage goes up to $10.50 per hour. Tipped minimum wage workers will also see a raise as their per hour wage increases to $5.95.  
The Mayor's 2014 ordinance phases in annual increases every July 1st.  The hourly wage will increase to $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018 and $13 by 2019. The ordinance affects employers operating within the city and employees who work at least two hours in the city.  It does not cover businesses with four or less employees, not counting the employer's parents, spouse, children or other members of the employer's immediate family.
Plastic Bag Ban:
The second phase of the City of Chicago's Plastic Bag Ban begins August 1, 2016. Smaller chain and franchise retailers with floor space less than 10,000 square feet will be required to come into compliance as larger stores were required last year. The ordinance does not apply to take-out or dine-in restaurants.
Under the ordinance stores can provide customers plastic bags if they are reusable, made of recyclable paper or commercially compostable plastic bags.
As part of the City's coordinated effort to build awareness about these changes, the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection will host a workshop regarding the new laws on Wednesday, August 10,2016 at City Hall Room 805 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Please stay tuned for more information that will be posted online.

Maria Guerra Lapacek
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Illinois: Bill targets bootlegging and illegal wine shipping 

Sunday, August 07, 2016 9:53:00 AM

Source: Chicago Tribune

Greg Trotter

August 1, 2016


Beware, ye bootleggers and illicit e-commerce shippers of booze into Illinois - the state law is about to get tougher.


Senate Bill 2989, sponsored by state Sen. James Clayborne, D-East Saint Louis, seeks to toughen oversight and enforcement of transportation of alcohol into Illinois. The bill is awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature after passing through the state House and Senate. Backed by the powerful and long-established alcohol wholesalers lobby, the legislation represents the alcohol industry's attempt to protect the so-called three-tier system against unlicensed wine shippers sending booze to Illinois customers and merchants illegally bringing alcohol across state borders without paying taxes.


"Licensed wineries that have the ability to ship into the market - they're following the law. Why is another winery able to not license themselves and ship in? It's really about making sure we're able to cover the laws that are in place and making sure everyone's following the rules properly," said Danny Wirtz, vice chair of Breakthru Beverage Group, the alcohol distributor company formed in January when Wirtz Beverage Group merged with New York-based Charmer Sunbelt.


When you buy a six-pack or a bottle of wine or tequila at a store in Illinois, you're participating in the three-tier system in its most traditional format. A wholesaler sold that alcohol to the store after buying it from the manufacturer.


But of course, consumers have more options these days. You could use an app to order your vino from one of Chicago's several alcohol delivery services, like Drizly or Instacart, which partner with retailers. Or you could buy your booze online, from out of state, via websites likes eBay Wine and Amazon. Or, if really determined, you could drive to Wisconsin and bring back a twelver of New Glarus Spotted Cow, a popular beer not sold in Illinois.


This bill doesn't limit any of those options, but it does impose tougher penalties on the "bad actors" of e-commerce and those who illegally transport large quantities of alcohol across state lines with plans of reselling, said Jeremy Kruidenier, vice executive director of the Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois, a trade group funded by the state's two largest wholesalers, Breakthru and Southern Wine & Spirits.

It's really about making sure we're able to cover the laws that are in place and making sure everyone's following the rules properly. - Danny Wirtz, vice chair of Breakthru Beverage Group


Any person transporting into Illinois 108 liters or more of wine, 45 liters or more of spirits, or 118 liters or more of beer would face a felony charge - instead of a fine and business offense - if the bill is signed into law. Likewise, any nonlicensed wine shipper that's already received a cease-and-desist letter from regulators would also face felony charges.


Last year, Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois conducted its own investigation that showed hundreds of cases of wine and liquor entering Illinois illegally. At the time, the trade group calculated that the state had lost $20 million to $30 million in tax dollars over a single year.


The legislation also increases the licensing fees across the board for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, and establishes more of an audit process "to track how product is moving into Illinois," Kruidenier said.


"Frankly, I don't think there's been enough enforcement," Kruidenier said.


Kruidenier emphasized the association wasn't opposed to e-commerce and declined to name businesses that haven't been adhering to existing state law. Revenue from the increase in licensing fees is intended to help boost enforcement and will be split between the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the state's general fund, he said.

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One industry could get a $100 billion boost from the rise of driverless cars and car-sharing 

Sunday, August 07, 2016 9:43:00 AM


Rachel Butt

August 1, 2016

Imagine not having to say no to a drink anymore because you have to drive home.

That would be great for liquor sales, which have been hit hard by drunk-driving laws in countries like China and Scotland, according to a research note by Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas and his team.

Drinking and driving should, of course, always be mutually exclusive, but the rise of car-sharing services and the development of driverless cars could shake things up.

Uber, for one, claimed that it has prevented about 1,800 drunk-driving crashes since its launch in California in July 2012, according to a blog post last January. But the evidence is mixed: A study by researchers at the University of Southern California and Oxford University found no effect from Uber on crash rates.

Regardless, the driverless-car and alcohol industries could benefit each other significantly.

Here is Morgan Stanley:

"Shared and autonomous vehicle technology help address the mutual exclusivity of drinking and driving in a way that can significantly enhance the growth rate of the alcohol market and on-trade sales at restaurants. The total addressable market (TAM) of the global alcohol market is ~$1.5tn today (1.14tn drinks x $1.33/drink). As our base case, we believe greater prevalence of shared mobility (i.e. ride-sharing) in the next 10 years can add 80 bps to the annual growth rate of the alcohol market (currently ~2.2%). This assumes that the joint population of drivers and those who drink consume 1 extra alcoholic beverage per week on average. In reality, this is highly dependent on the timing and telemetry of shared models. Would be drivers who reside in cities where shared mobility is well penetrated are likely to consume more than 1 additional drink per week, in our view. Beyond 2025, we believe autonomous technology can unlock an even greater TAM opportunity."

To make their case, the analysts calculated current global alcohol consumption and its monetary value, and compared that with estimated figures under the impact of car-sharing and driverless cars. They found that the booze market could get an extra $98 billion:

In the base case, where the analysts assume that would-be drivers who drink will have one more drink per week by 2025, the annual alcohol-consumption growth rate could increase by 0.8 percentage points relative to the baseline. In the bull case, the 10-year compounded annual growth rate for alcohol consumption could increase by 1.88 points.

Brands that sell premium beer and liquor will benefit the most from these incremental drinks, according to the note, citing examples such as Corona's parent company, Constellation Brands, British whiskey distiller Diageo, and Chinese state-owned company Kweichow Moutai.

We already saw how Americans are increasingly trading up to more expensive alcohol, a trend that Constellation CEO Rob Sands believes will continue.


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