Nebraska: Restaurant owner not guilty in flap that put Salt in hot water 

Monday, February 27, 2017 10:39:00 AM

Source: WOWT

By Brian Mastre

Feb 08, 2017 


A jury has found a metro restaurant owner not guilty in a misdemeanor case involving a tweet.


The case took root with a simple tweet. Jurors were tasked with deciding whether John Horavatinovich's simple message was a violation of the law.


"I think it was a waste of taxpayer dollars," Horvatinovich told WOWT 6 News after the verdict.


He believes the way compliance checks are done should be re-evaluated. The state, however, stands by its decision to ticket the owner.


"The point I want to drive home is this - this is how our system works. If we believe we have the evidence to charge someone with a crime, it's our obligation to the people of Omaha to do that. And people like Mr. Horvatinovich have the right to have a trial and let the jury decide," said Omaha City Prosecutor Matt Kuhse.


In August, a compliance check operated by the Nebraska State Patrol and Project Extra Mile stopped at Salt. Two 17-year-olds tried to buy Bud Light beer but were turned away by staff.


Horavatinovich posted their photos from the security camera on Twitter and he used the word "sting" in the post. He says he had no way to know if actually was one since the organizers don't tell restaurants before or after a check unless they are caught.


Horavatinovich said, "We were presented with two minors trying to buy alcohol at our restaurant. Had I known they were minors working with authorities in a compliance check, I would have deleted it immediately. But we didn't find that until 12-days after the tweet."


Recently-retired Nebraska State Patrol Sergeant Robert Elliott canceled the operation that night. He was first to testify Monday. He said he worried the safety of the two 17-year-olds working with investigators could be jeopardized by anyone who saw their photo on social media.


On Monday the defense team questioned the witnesses, trying to lay the framework that the restaurant owner had no way of knowing it was a compliance check. After two-and-a-half hours of testimony on Monday and a two-and-a-half hours of testimony Tuesday, it was handed over to jurors.


They adjourned Tuesday without a decision and reached their verdict Wednesday morning.


Just hours after the verdict was read Horavatinovich was back to work behind the bar at Salt.


"It feels good to be back," he told WOWT 6 News. It was his first shift in a long time where paying a hefty fine or even facing jail time were no longer on the table; just the food and drinks he was serving up.


"We were able to stand up for ourselves and other businesses," he explained. Horavatinovich hopes that what he went through with his trial will set a precedent to protect other liquor license holders who are exercising their freedoms of speech.


When it comes to tweeting he tells us he keeps his tweets harmless and he won't hesitate to send the next out.


"I don't think that there's a pause on my side. Will other people think about it? Maybe.It'll be a thought but it's not going to stop me from sending it out."


Project Extra Mile Interim Executive Director Diane Riibe released a statement on the verdict Wednesday: "Compliance checks have a long history of success in Nebraska and across the country in preventing youth access to alcohol. Project Extra is thankful for law enforcement's professionalism in carrying them out over 20 years in the metro area with a primary focus on the safety of young people. There is abundant evidence to the effectiveness of compliance checks, and we've seen that value as the noncompliant rate in the Omaha metro area has fallen from a high of 41% in 1997 to a current, historically low rate of 6 percent. Put simply, compliance checks work, and we're committed to our continued support of the operations."

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Beer tops list of beverage of choice 

Monday, February 27, 2017 10:38:00 AM

Source: DBR

6 February 2017


A survey conducted by The Harris Poll finds that beer is the most favourite beverage of choice, and wine is the favorite alcohol among women, adults aged 65 and more, and those in high income households.


For nearly 4 in 10 regular drinkers (U.S. adults ages 21+ who drink alcohol several times a year or more), beer is that beverage of choice (38%), followed by wine (31%), and spirits/liquor (28%). But has it always been like this?


Most regular drinkers who say beer is their beverage of choice today also say it was their go-to alcohol beverage 2 years ago (83% of those 23+) and 10 years ago (73% of those 31+).


A majority of today's spirit choosers say the same as well, with 78% stating they preferred liquor/spirits 2 years ago (of those 23+) and 63% 10 years ago (of those 31+).


Wine drinkers, on the other hand, tell a slightly different story. While nearly three quarters of today's wine drinkers say they also preferred wine 2 years ago (73% of those 23+), just 4 in 10 say the same of 10 years ago (44% of those 31+).


Many of today's wine drinkers (ages 31+) had a different top pick a decade ago and say they were instead drinking liquor/spirits (26%) or beer (21%).


Nielsen's Beverage Alcohol Practice senior vice president Danny Brager said: "While many consumers will increasingly drink across all three major adult beverage categories, they still have their 'preferred' drink type.  At the same time, all consumers are not alike, and various demographic groups clearly have different favorites.


"For some, that 'go to' choice hasn't changed a great deal, but for a significant percentage of those who favor wine today, they did prefer another beverage type 10 years ago.


"Both life stage changes over that period of time as these consumers have aged, as well as today's younger generations being more open to wine, are likely driving those changes in preference."


These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,148 U.S. adults ages 21+ (including 1,540 adults ages 21+ who drink several times a year or more, i.e., "regular drinkers") surveyed online between January 18 and 20, 2017.


Demographic distinctions


While beer may take the cake over the years, a deeper look shows it is not everyone's top pick. Beer is favored among men (55%), younger generations (21-34, 41%; 35-44, 44%; 45-54, 42%), and those residing in the South (43%).


Wine, however, beats out beer as the top pick among women (46%), adults ages 65+ (42%), and adults in high income households (37%, HH income of $100K+).


Spirits trail just a bit behind wine overall, but have generally equal strength in preference among various demographic groups versus larger variances seen in beer and wine across these same groups.


Favorite types


Adults whose current beverage of choice is beer favor domestic non-craft beer (38%), followed by craft beer (29%), and imported beer (23%).


Those who prefer wine say their favorite type is red (38%), followed by white (32%) and, more distantly, rose or blush (19%) and sparkling wine/champagne (10%). Men are significantly more likely than women to prefer red (49% vs. 34%).


The favorite liquor among spirit drinkers is vodka (29%), followed closely by whiskey (26%), and more distantly by rum (16%), tequila (8%), and cognac (7%). Men are significantly more likely than women to favor whiskey (40% vs. 14%), while women are twice as likely to choose vodka (38% vs. 19%).



This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 18 and 20, 2017 among 2,148 adults (aged 21 and over).


Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.


All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.


Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.


Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population.


Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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Restaurant Groups Urge Justices To Review Tip-Pooling Rule 

Monday, February 27, 2017 10:37:00 AM

Source: Law360

By Suevon Lee

February 3, 2017


Restaurant trade groups have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of a Ninth Circuit ruling upholding a U.S. Department of Labor rule regulating when so-called "tip pools" can be instituted by employers, eviscerating the circuit court's "cavalier approach" to interpreting statute.


The National Restaurant Association, along with restaurant trade groups in Oregon, Washington and Alaska, argued in a Jan. 19 petition for writ of certiorari that the Ninth Circuit's majority holding that the DOL rule passes muster under the Fair Labor Standards Act confers too much power to the federal agency and also creates a split with the Fourth Circuit to warrant high court action.


"The Ninth Circuit deviated so substantially from this court's decisions under the FLSA and concerning federal agency authority more generally that summary reversal is appropriate," the petition argues.


The appeal follows a Feb. 23 ruling in which a split Ninth Circuit, reversing a district court, held that employers who choose not to offset minimum wage requirements with tips their workers earn - in a practice known as taking a "tip credit" - can only establish tip pools when they are composed exclusively of employees who are customarily tipped.


That means back-of-the-house staff, such as cooks and busboys, are denied the chance to share in customer tips.


The dispute harks back to the 2011 Department of Labor rule that the petitioners say flouted the 2010 Ninth Circuit decision in Cumbie v. Woody Woo. The rule reflects the view that tips are the property of workers whether an employer takes a tip credit or not, and that the employer is barred from using worker tips for such reasons as tip pooling.


The restaurant trade groups filed a complaint in Oregon in 2012, saying the regulation goes against Cumbie, in which the circuit court dismissed a waitress's lawsuit against her employer for requiring servers to contribute to a tip pool though it didn't avail itself of the tip credit, holding that the FLSA only imposes conditions on a tip credit but does not create free-standing requirements.


U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled that the DOL exceeded its statutory authority in an April 2014 ruling. But a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit reversed, with Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson writing for the majority that under the Supreme Court's 1984 ruling in USA v. Chevron, and 2000 ruling in Christensen v. Harris, the Labor Department was within its rights to clarify and expand its regulations to cover even employers that do not take a tip credit.


The majority decision sparked a dissent from Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith, who argued that his colleagues were ignoring circuit precedent from the Cumbie ruling and that the department cannot legislate on its own.


When the panel declined to rehear the case or take it up before an en banc court in September, Circuit Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain took on the mantle of dissent, skewering the majority for having "stumbled off a constitutional precipice" by upholding the agency's rule.


Judge O'Scannlain's dissent features prominently in the restaurant groups' cert petition, which argues that high court review is necessary to address a split the Ninth Circuit created with the Fourth Circuit, and also to cabin the overreaching scope of federal agency rule-making the groups argued had occurred.


"These issues are very important, as they potentially implicate every federal agency and the rights of every person affected by federal regulations," Paul DeCamp, a Jackson Lewis PC attorney representing the trade groups, told Law360 on Friday. "The [Ninth Circuit's] ruling endorses a theory of regulation that grants a previously unheard-of level of power to federal agencies to impose rules on the public utterly untethered to the laws Congress has enacted."


The arguments in the cert petition have fellow company: In August, Wynn Las Vegas, which was sued in Nevada by casino dealers alleging they were required to participate in a tip pool that violated the DOL regulation, also asked the high court to review the Ninth Circuit's ruling, which had reversed a Nevada district judge in consolidated appeals.


Wynn's petition, similarly, argued that the Ninth Circuit's position would give federal agencies "unprecedented, virtually unlimited power," and asked the Supreme Court to step in.


The National Restaurant Association argues that if its own cert petition is not granted, the high court should hold it pending a ruling in the Wynn case.


The petitioners are represented by Paul DeCamp of Jackson Lewis PC and Angelo Amador of Restaurant Law Center.


The U.S. Department of Labor is represented by Noel J. Francisco of the U.S. Department of Justice.


The case is National Restaurant Association et al. v. U.S. Department of Labor et al., case number 16-920, in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Restaurants: Gap between actual and implied restaurant wage inflation expands to new highs  

Monday, February 27, 2017 10:36:00 AM

Source: Goldman Sachs

03 Feb 2017


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the detailed breakdown of wages data for December on 02/03. The gap between the implied impact of minimum wage increases and actual restaurant wage inflation expanded to new peaks in December, supporting our view that restaurant wage inflation will remain a headwind into 2017 regardless of any federal minimum wage increases. More broadly, low-end wage growth further accelerated in December, remains elevated relative to post-recession levels, and continues to outpace higher-end wage inflation (which decelerated in December). We provide other key takeaways below:


Limited service wage pressures in excess of minimum wages continue: Limited service restaurant wages tend to correlate strongly with changes in minimum wages (as they fall at or just above minimum wages, Exhibit 4); however, this relation broke starting in 2014 and suggests additional pressure as a result of tighter labor markets. Limited service wage inflation accelerated to +5.4% in December (vs +4.7% in November), outpacing the impact of minimum wages by 3.6% (representing a new peak gap). Taking into account an additional 70bps of national pressure from state minimum wages increases taking effect 12/31/16 or 1/1/17 and maintaining this 3.6% gap suggests 5.8% inflation in 2017 vs 4.4% in 2016.


Casual dining inflation also remains elevated: Casual dining wage inflation also accelerated to new peaks at +5.6% yoy. Note that this level is ahead of the guidance ranges provided by companies.


Low-end income growth supportive of industry demand: Low-end wage growth accelerated to 3.0% in December (vs 2.7% in November). Income growth (the sum of wage and job growth) also accelerated to +4.5% yoy in December. We continue to view this as supportive of industry demand trends; however, would note secular share losses are acting as a meaningful offset (particularly among casual diners; see "2017 Outlook: Challenging year for sales and wages; PNRA up to Buy", published 19th January, 2017).

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Picture of the Week Vol. 5 - Drinking at home 

Monday, February 27, 2017 10:35:00 AM

Source: RBC Capital Markets

Nik Modi

February 3rd


In this week's picture: We take a look at different locations where people consume spirits and wine and discuss the reasons people choose to drink at home rather than on-premise.


More people drinking at home than on-premise: On-premise consumption has always been an important area of the beverage alcohol industry (as trends on-promise typically move into off-premise channels). However, research from the IWSR shows that more consumers are choosing to consumer their beverage alcohol products at home. Survey data shows that ~51% of people drink spirits at their homes or someone else's home, and ~60% of them drink wine at home vs. on-premise.


Reasons to drink at home: Many reasons favor drinking at one's own home or someone else's home over drinking at a bar, a restaurant, or other locations. First is that home get-togethers are naturally pre-screened for selective social interactions. It can also be more entertaining to watch friends and families showing their home-bartending skills, and home owners are incentivized especially if they have nice home bars. In addition, the price of spirits or wine consumed is much more transparent at home, while drinks at restaurants and bars are sold at significant mark-ups. Moreover, as pointed out in our previous notes, more high-end restaurants such as Olive Garden and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers are providing better quality take-out/prepared foods and upgrading their digital capabilities to ensure mobile orders and easy delivery to home, making it much easier to organize parties at home.

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House and Senate Members Reintroduce the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act 

Monday, February 27, 2017 10:33:00 AM

Source: Wine America

By Michael Kaiser, Vice President



On Monday January 30th, leading House and Senate Members reintroduced the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. This comprehensive bill would drastically reduce the federal excise tax (FET) burden on wineries, breweries and distilleries. Every congressional district in the United States includes a brewery, winery, distillery, importer or industry supplier, all of whom operate under an outdated tax structure.  A reduction in the FET will result in consumers benefiting from greater choice and allow businesses to invest in product development, improve infrastructure and stimulate employment in communities across the country. WineAmerica strongly supports the passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.


Senate Introduction


The Senate version of the bill (S.236) was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). Senator Wyden has been the main architect of this bill and originally conceived it in June 2015. He was joined by eleven of his fellow Senators on the new version of the bill. This bipartisan piece of legislation features six Democrats and six Republicans as original co-sponsors, they are:



Tammy Baldwin- WI

Michael Bennet- CO

Thomas Carper- DE

Robert Casey- PA

Debbie Stabenow- MI

Ron Wyden- OR



Roy Blunt- MO

Shelly Moore Capito- WV

Cory Gardner- CO

Jerry Moran- KS

Rob Portman- OH

Pat Roberts- KS


Senator Blunt of Missouri has also been tireless in his support for the bill, he is the chief sponsor on the Republican side.


House Introduction


The House version of the bill (H.R. 747) was once again co-sponsored by Reps. Erik Paulson (R-MN-3) and Ron Kind (D-WI-3). They are joined by a diverse and bipartisan group:



Earl Blumenauer (OR-3)

Peter DeFazio (OR-4)

Ron Kind (WI-3)

Chellie Pingree (ME-1)

Mike Thompson (CA-5)



Mark Amodei (NV-2)

Tom Emmer (MN-6)

Mike Kelly (PA-3)

Patrick McHenry (NC-10)

Dan Newhouse (WA-4)

David Reichert (WA-8)

Patrick Tiberi (OH-12)


Major Provisions for Wine


The major tax relief provisions specific to wine are nearly identical to the previous amended version of the bill, with some minor additions:


Expand Excise Tax Credit for Wineries

Under present law, wine is subject to an excise tax of between $1.07 and $3.40 per gallon, based on alcohol content and carbonation level. Qualifying small domestic wineries producing 250,000 wine gallons or less are eligible for a tax credit generally equal to 90 cents per gallon on the first 100,000 gallons produced, with that benefit phasing out between 150,000 gallons and 250,000 gallons. Hard cider is taxed as wine, subject to lower rates and a reduced credit amount. This provision removes the phaseout and replaces the credit with a new tiered credit system for wine produced in the U.S. or imported as follows: $1.00 for the first 30,000 wine gallons, $0.90 for the next 100,000 wine gallons, and $0.535 for the next 620,000 wine gallons. In addition, this provision removes the existing prohibition against claiming the credit for naturally sparkling wines. Conforming expansions are made to the cider credit. Find an estimate of your new tax rate here


Expand Alcohol Threshold for Certain Wines

Under current law, still wine is taxed at different rates based on alcohol content. Still wine containing not more than 14 percent ABV is taxed at $1.07. Still wine above 14 percent and less than 21 percent ABV is taxed at $1.57 per gallon. For labeling purposes only, alcohol content in wine may vary from the stated amount within certain tolerances, however no such tolerances exist for tax purposes. This proposal would provide that wines up to 16 percent ABV may qualify for the $1.07 tax rate, in order to provide more certainty for wine producers. 


Increased Carbonation Tolerances for Certain Low ABV Wines

Present law provides a tolerance for still wine of 0.392 gram of carbon dioxide per hundred milliliters of wine, which is generally taxed at $1.07 per wine gallon. Wines exceeding this limitation are taxed as "sparkling wine" at either $3.30 or $3.40 per wine gallon. This provision would increase that tolerance to 0.64 gram of carbon dioxide per hundred milliliters of wine for wines produced primarily from grape or solely from honey and water, which do not contain any other fruit and contains no more than 8.5 percent ABV.


Reduce Compliance and Tax Burdens for all Producers, and Improve Excise Tax Administration

The bill exempts beverage producers from complex capitalization rules for aged products, removing the requirement that bottle aging be considered in production time.  The bill also continues TTB funding increases that were secured in for FY 2016 of $5 million for label and formula approval and $5 million for fair trade practice enforcement. The increases are to be authorized for FY 2017 and FY 2018, along with an additional $5 million for the cost of implementing the bill, including new federal permit approvals.


Next Steps for WineAmerica

With the reintroduction of the bill, WineAmerica will now begin the process of securing additional co-sponsors. At the end of the last legislative year, the bill had nearly 300 House co-sponsors and 53 Senators. Along with our alcohol industry partners, our goal will be to match or exceed the totals from 2016. Concurrently we will be meeting with the relevant House and Senate Committees as the agenda for tax reform is set. We look forward to working with our members and Congress to to ensure the FET burden on the beer, wine and spirits sector is at the forefront of the discussion.

For more information please contact Michael Kaiser,


WineAmerica is the national voice the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 43 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations. As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

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Hawaii: State considers tightening DUI law with lower blood alcohol content limit 

Monday, February 27, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Source: KHON2

By Sara Mattison

January 26, 2017


The state is looking into tightening drunk driving laws.


It's supposed to create a shift in the way people drink when they're spending a night out.


Right now, the legal limit is 0.08, but an effort is underway to lower that threshold to 0.05. It's a new standard the National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for in all states.


Sen. Josh Green is behind this plan once again (Senate Bill 18) and, speaking as a doctor, he says lowering the blood alcohol content will make a big difference in protecting people on the road.


He says as many as a third of vehicle crashes and fatalities are due to drunk driving.


"At 0.05, you're 50 percent less likely to cause an accident, less likely to hurt yourself, to kill an innocent person on the road," Green said. "Our National Transportation Safety Board recommends 0.05. All of Europe is doing 0.05. They have many fewer accidents."


While Green does not recommend drinking and driving at all, he says one drink for most people would still be legally safe to drive.


"My goal is for people to have that cultural change and know you should never drink and drive, or certainly never have more than one drink and drive," he said. "That's the change that has to happen."


We reached out to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but the Hawaii chapter could not give us a comment because MADD does not have a position or policy to reduce the blood alcohol content at this time.


So we checked with a defense attorney who says this new cutoff could cause a backlog in court.


"It invites a lot of litigation from the defense bar if it passes," said attorney David Fanelli. "That litigation will tie up some of the appeal courts, puts certain cases on hold and definitely, the courts will be flooded with extra cases of people who are over 0.05 but under 0.08."


Records show that the state judiciary handled more than 13,000 DUI cases between 2015 to 2016.


"I think we should focus on people who are highly intoxicated," Fanelli said. "The Legislature in the past has repealed laws for high intoxication, from what I can tell, just due to to these reasons: court congestion."


Green pushed for this proposal last Legislative session, but it did not pass. He's hoping with the backing of the NTSB, this time around will be different.


The Honolulu Police Department said it "has not taken a position on the bill at this time. However, the HPD is always looking for ways to make Oahu roads safer for all users."

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US banks step up fight to end fee limits on debit cards 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:47:00 PM

Lobby group uses campaign to relax Dodd-Frank rules but retailers plan to hit back


Source: FT

by: Alistair Gray in New York and Barney Jopson in Washington

February 20, 2017


US banks are stepping up efforts to win one of Washington's fiercest lobbying battles with a push to end limits on debit card fees that they claim have failed to help consumers and handed retailers a $42bn windfall.


The American Bankers Association is hoping to capitalise on Donald Trump's vow to "do a number" on the Dodd-Frank act as it fights limits on swipe card charges included in post-crisis reforms.


The lobby group has launched an advertising campaign with placements in publications including The Washington Post and Politico that take aim at the so-called Durbin amendment.


This requires the fees that banks charge retailers on debit card transactions to be "reasonable and proportional". The restrictions do not apply to credit cards.


"Losing the revenues on the debit cards is a big deal for banks," said Rodgin Cohen, senior chairman of the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. "This is a very high priority for the industry. The regulatory burden consists not only of increased costs, but suppressed revenues."


But banks have a fight on their hands over Durbin, not least because it pits them against the also-powerful retail lobby.


Some banking lobbyists, who are hopeful that parts of Dodd-Frank could be relaxed, acknowledge privately that their chances of ending the restrictions on card fees are slim.


Retailers argue the reforms have led to more competition on fees and that savings have been passed on to consumers. They are also planning to hit back with their own ad campaign.


Mallory Duncan, general counsel at the National Retail Federation, said the competitive nature of the retail industry meant the lower transaction costs had led to cheaper prices in stores.


He pointed out that banks had tried several times to repeal Durbin without success. "They [banks] have an uphill battle to convince members of Congress that removing competition is a good idea and that they ought to be allowed to go back to hidden, monopolistic fees."


Banks have the backing of Jeb Hensarling, who chairs the House financial services committee. He is expected to include a move to row back Durbin when he introduces his financial choice act, which would undo large parts of Dodd-Frank.


However, the threat of a tumultuous lobbying war between banks and retailers will give pause to Republican leaders in the House and a move to repeal the Durbin amendment would face resistance in the Senate too.


Charles Gabriel, president of the policy analysis group Capital Alpha, said he doubted the move would secure enough political support. "This is forcing members to choose between two of the most powerful political constituencies in their districts [banks and retailers]. Why would they want to do that?"


But he added: "You've got this green light now, with Trump having won. You kind of have to try this. The [finance] industry has a chance to play offence."


James Ballentine, executive vice-president of congressional relations at the American Bankers Association, said: "We will make the necessary investments to make sure victory is achieved."

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NIELSEN CGA: For Millennials, 'Black Wednesday' is a Big Night for Beers, Bars & Bonding 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:46:00 PM

1 in 4 Millennials say they will visit the on-premise on Black Wednesday before spending Thanksgiving Day with Family


Source: Nielsen CGA

November 21st


According to the latest Nielsen CGA On Premise Consumer Survey (OPCS), a fifth of the legal drinking age population plans to visit a restaurant, bar or nightclub as part of the Thanksgiving occasion.   Millennials are the most likely to go out on Thanksgiving (27%), while only 12% of those over the age of 65 expect to be celebrating out-of-home.


The day before Thanksgiving, often known as 'Black Wednesday', is a major event for the on-premise as groups of friends return home from different parts of the country and want to catch up and celebrate.  In fact, 1 in 4 (24%) Millennials say they will visit the on-premise on the day before Thanksgiving.  What's more interesting is the type of outlets they plan to visit.  43% of on-premise visits made by Millennials this coming Wednesday will be to a Neighborhood/Local bar...great news for a part of the trade that has been challenged for years, losing traffic to the continued growth in casual dining restaurants.


According to Scott Elliott, SVP of Nielsen CGA, "Fewer than 1 in 4 legal drinking age Americans visit a neighborhood bar on a weekly basis, so Black Wednesday is a big opportunity for a part of the on-premise which has faced challenges and many closures over recent years.  In fact, America has lost 1 in 6 Neighborhood bars in the last decade, so making the most of every opportunity is clearly important."


Whilst not the biggest night for the trade, (New Year's Eve, Christmas Eve and Halloween all being bigger events) Black Wednesday biases heavily towards Millennials and local bars.  In fact, the proportion of visits to local bars (43%) is beaten only by Halloween where 56% of Millennials celebrating in the on-premise say they plan to visit a local bar.  New Year's Eve comes a very close third with 42% of 21-35 year olds planning a trip to a neighborhood bar at some point in the evening.




So, what are people planning to drink when they go out on Black Wednesday?  43% will be drinking beer, followed by cocktails (33%), table wine (29%) and finally Spirits (14%).


Elliot continued, "with a third of those visiting their local bar this Wednesday drinking Cocktails, there is an opportunity to grow spend with the right serve. We at Nielsen CGA survey 30,000 on-premise visitors a year and we know that cocktail drinkers are willing to spend 11% more on what they perceive to be a premium Cocktail.  Add in the fact that consumers typically drink 2.4 cocktails per cocktail-drinking session and it is easy to see the revenue opportunity here for those bars set up to succeed."


One thing we know for sure is that the modern on-premise visitor drinks multiple categories (4 on average and 5.5 for Millennials) and bars need to be able to help customers navigate their categories of choice throughout the evening if they want to maximise sales.  Effective menus, promotions and (crucially) server recommendations are the best ways of doing this.

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Denver is first city in America to allow pot in bars and restaurants  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:45:00 PM

Source: Associated Press

November 15, 2016


Denver has approved a first-in-the-nation law allowing people to use marijuana in bars and restaurants.


Denver voters weighed in on Proposition 300 as eight other states legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes last week.


The city measure allows bars and restaurants to apply to allow marijuana use. Patrons could use pot inside as long as it isn't smoked, with the possibility of outside smoking areas.


Colorado law does not currently allow nor ban public marijuana use. The result is a hodgepodge of local ordinances related to marijuana clubs. Denver is the first city to allow bars and restaurants to permit marijuana use, though patrons must bring their own weed.


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