Updates
October 19, 2021

Food and Beverage Law Blog

A food and beverage law blog for food and beverage producers, breweries, distilleries, agricultural businesses, food and beverage retailers, distributors, grocers and restaurateurs. 


Employees of downtown Burlington businesses report that they do not feel safe and that they are being harassed and verbally assaulted when coming in to work, while working, and when going home, especially late at night. We are encouraging our Burlington area readers to support our local restaurants and merchants by supporting the safety of their employees.| October 19, 2021

On behalf of Downs Rachlin Martin, I am pleased to report that with the “Vermont Legal Community Fighting Hunger Food Drive” (Sept. 3-17) now closed, my firm raised $4,451 and had a total of 54 donors within the firm! | September 21, 2021

From September 3rd - 17th, Vermont Foodbank is hosting the fifth annual Vermont Legal Community Fighting Hunger Food Drive. Donate today! | September 2, 2021

On July 9, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order comprised of 72 policy objectives aimed at “Promoting Competition in the American Economy.” The Executive Order emphasizes the vital nature of a “fair, open, and competitive marketplace” in the U.S., asserting that, “[t]he American promise of a broad and sustained prosperity depends on an open and competitive economy.”  August 30, 2021

On August 3, 2021, Congress introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021, a bill proposing to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to strengthen requirements related to nutrient information on food labels, and for other purposes. | August 26, 2021 

Hand picking an apple, agritourism, Vermont

Act 31 effectively narrowed the scope of liability that an agritourism host could face when a visitor is injured while participating in an agritourism activity on the host’s property. | August 24, 2021

Please patronize our locally-owned Burlington restaurants! Dining out in Burlington is back! Read all about the scrumptious restaurant options in Burlington that are back open for eat-in dining. You can sort through all of the choices by name, by cuisine, or by neighborhood, here: Dine — Love Burlington | July 12, 2021

I was on the hunt for cannabis infused candy knocking off Hershey’s iconic brands. On my first stop, I found exactly what I was looking for... | July 7, 2021

Many of Vermont’s and America’s stressed and deserving restaurants qualified for Restaurant Revitalization Fund relief grants and applied for them, but never got them because the program ran out of money. Please demand that Congress replenish the funding for this critical COVID-19 relief package! | July 6, 2021

Here are just a few examples of the many Vermont breweries who are engaging with the community and giving back, and the myriad of ways in which they are doing it. | June 24, 2021

In the latest edition of BrewView Vermont, you'll meet the women behind the VT brewing industry, including a conversation with Melissa Corbin, Executive Director of the Vermont Brewers Association. | June 14, 2021

Is hard seltzer beer

In a fight between alcoholic beverage giants, a court may decide whether the definition of beer includes hard seltzer. | June 1, 2021

Save the date – hope to see some of you at the Vermont Specialty Food Association virtual Spring Annual Meeting on June 9 from 1:00 – 3:30 pm. The meeting consists of a keynote speech by John Tunnicliffe of King Arthur Baking Co., board elections, a legislative update, and break-out sessions. More information and an online registration form can be found here. | May 27, 2021

Over the last three weeks, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has posted in its Knowledge Base responses to many questions (i) about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) Grant Program. This article focuses on what the Knowledge Base teaches us about how the SBA is applying the RRF statute to breweries and brewpubs. | May 11, 2021

Happy Friday!  In today’s edition of the DRM Food & Beverage Law Blog...

First, we hope that all of our Vermont Food & Beverage friends have filed their applications with the SBA for Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants, or will soon do so, and we wish all of them success. Restaurant Revitalization Fund to Open Monday, May 3, 2021 (drm.com)

Second, we take a moment to celebrate yesterday’s long-anticipated reopening of The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, one of the East Coast’s best craft beer and food establishments.  The newly-refurbished space is spectacular, and worth visiting. Here are some photos / videos

Third, we wish everyone a happy Mother’s Day weekend, and encourage everyone to patronize their local restaurants or caterers to give Mom a great meal.  Here are some great options in Burlington and throughout Vermont.  Dine — Love Burlington  Edible Vermont - Celebrating Local Food and Drink in Vermont (ediblecommunities.com)  Fine Dining Restaurants - Places to Eat in Vermont (visit-vermont.com)  Vermont Restaurants: Romantic, Family And Fine Dining Restaurants in Vermont   And here are some gift ideas for Mom courtesy of Vermont Business Magazine.  VBM's 2020 Holiday Gift Guide - Flipbook by Vermont Business Magazine | FlipHTML5 

DRM extends its congratulations to the three Vermont specialty food producers who recently received sofi awards from the Specialty Food Association. | May 7, 2021

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that registration for the SBA application portal for Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants will begin on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 am ET and that the application period will officially open on Monday, May 3, 2021, at noon ET. | April 27, 2021

Vermont farmers, dairy and food businesses are getting together to host a 24-hour social media event on May 12 – 13, 2021. | April 27, 2021

DRM Food and Beverage Law Blog is highlighted in the latest issue of BrewView VT! | April 27, 2021

VT SBA support for RRF grants

This morning the Vermont District Office of the Small Business Administration put on a very helpful webinar on how to apply for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant. | April 23, 2021

Future of Vt Ag is in Good Hands

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has appointed 12 Commissioners to his newly formed Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture. We at DRM congratulate the newly appointed Commissioners! | April 22, 2021

Big E / Eastern States Exposition

The world famous (okay, New England famous) Eastern States Exposition is happening in West Springfield, Vermont in 2021. | April 22, 2021

Don't tax PPP loans

In H.315 the VT Legislature authorizes the state to tax as “income” any Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) relief money a business received from the federal government if the loan was forgiven in calendar year 2021. Yes, that’s right: any PPP loans forgiven in 2021 can be taxed by the state as business income. | April 21, 2021

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grants

The much anticipated moment has come: the US Small Business Administration has posted formal guidance, and a sample application form, on its website for Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants: Restaurant Revitalization Fund (sba.gov). | April 19, 2021

Vt Brewers Fest Cancelled due to COVID
Photo courtesy of Vermont Brewers Fest

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the second cancellation of the summer Vermont Brewers Festival that normally takes place in July on the Burlington waterfront. This is to the great dismay of the Vermont craft beverage and food community. | April 19, 2021

Does it mean that the contents of the cannister are nothing but 100% pure cheese and no other ingredients at all (i.e., preservatives)? Does it mean that the contents of the cannister are 100% “grated”? Or 100% “parmesan”? Or 100% “cheese”? | April 12, 2021

VT Legislature Examines Take Out ETOH

The Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee had its first look at H.313, a bill passed by the House that proposes to make miscellaneous changes to alcoholic beverage laws. Among other things, the bill allows for the continued temporary sale of alcoholic beverages for delivery and curbside pickup. | April 8, 2021

In what is a major development in California's Proposition 65 jurisprudence, a California federal court has just issued an injunction that bars the filing of any new lawsuits against food and beverage companies whose products contain acrylamide. | April 5, 2021

Click through for a summary of the eligibility requirements. Because the SBA expects a deluge of applications once the program is launched, owners of restaurants, bars, and similar places of business who are interested in the program should be prepared to file as soon as possible after program launch. | April 1, 2021

What's going on with the grant application process? The SBA is still setting up the program and hasn't yet published any guidance or posted an application on its website. However, in a Senate hearing last week, an SBA representative states that the SBA expected to start posting guidance on its website, and start taking applications, very soon. | March 30, 2021

The clothing company Patagonia, Inc. and the beer maker Anheuser-Busch, LLC have just settled their trademark lawsuit over A-B’s use of the term “Patagonia Beer” and a logo that Patagonia claimed was too similar to its own mountain backdrop. | March 29, 2021

Vermont Bars Reopen

As of today, March 24, Vermont bars can re-open! They can do so subject to current guidelines that already apply to restaurants: they can only operate at 50% of capacity, must space 6 feet between parties, with a maximum of 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors, masking, plexiglass screening at the bar, etc. | March 24, 2021

About 16 years ago, the Vermont Legislature tasked the Vermont Attorney General’s Office with developing a set of rules defining when a product is a “Vermont” product and under what circumstances a business can use the word “Vermont” on its product label. | March 22, 2021

In a more recent decision, the same court has thrown out a lawsuit alleging that a chai tea company’s product packaging misled consumers into believing that its tea mix contained real vanilla. | March 19, 2021

Sue Bette Bluebird BBQ

As a founding member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, Sue has worked tirelessly for a year since the COVID-19 shutdown to obtain meaningful federal financial relief for America's small and independent restaurants. | March 15, 2021

Here at the DRM Food & Beverage Law Blog, we can’t wait for our favorite downtown restaurants and craft beer spots to re-open! Read the latest. | March 12, 2021

Meet . . . Shannon Lenzini! Shannon is a senior business law associate at DRM with extensive experience in the brewing industry and brewery legal issues. Her husband is a co-founder of the highly-regarded Schilling / Resilience Brewery in Littleton, NH.  Shannon is immersed in all aspects of brewery contracts, labeling issues, distribution issues, etc. She is extremely familiar with Vermont’s new distribution (“franchise”) law (7 V.S.A. §§ 751-759) and has given presentations and advised breweries on it. | March 11, 2021

The House has just approved the massive COVID-19 relief bill that the Senate passed on Saturday (the “American Rescue Plan”), so as soon as President Biden signs the bill (no later than this Friday), the Small Business Administration will fund the Restaurant Revitalization grant program, the relief money will start flowing, and our small and independent restaurants, bars, etc., can start applying for the greatly-needed and deserved grant money. | March 10, 2021

$28.6 Billion in targeted relief for America’s small and medium sized restaurants is now extremely close to becoming a reality. | March 6, 2021

A Vermont agri-preneur helps small Vermont maple syrup producers get their product to national markets at a time when syrup production and marketing is “mega-sizing.” | March 4, 2021

Feeding Hungry Vermonters

Readers, let’s help feed hungry Vermonters! VT Digger reports that Vermont food shelves are struggling to keep up as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on. | March 3, 2021

Vermont COVID Relief Bill

In an unusual move, the House passed an expedited budget, aka CRF bill, aka COVID relief budget, aka pre-budget bill. As its many names imply, the bill has drawn confusion in the legislature. It has been under consideration in multiple committees in the House and Senate, while only the House Appropriations Committee had possession of the bill. | February 26, 2021

American Rescue Plan

It is anticipated that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the $1.9 Trillion stimulus package titled the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 as soon as Friday evening, February 26. | February 26, 2021

Since the Biden Administration came online in January, it has worked with the U.S. Small Business Administration to make the Paycheck Protection Program easier to access for small businesses, as well as more inclusive of minority-owned and women-owned businesses. | February 26, 2021

Vermont Considers Steps To Increase Meat Processing Capacity

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (AAFM) has submitted a proposal to the Legislature to increase Vermont’s in-state meat processing capacity, with demand for local meat products outstripping current processing capacity. | February 26, 2021

The House Agriculture Committee is considering H.218 an act relating to the sale of raw milk. The bill would allow for raw milk to be sold at a farmstand or from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) within 30 miles of where the milk is produced. | February 25, 2021

A Middlebury, Vermont company, Bees Wrap, that is the leading producer of sustainable, non-plastic food wraps, Sustainable food storage from Bee's Wrap®, announced that it was purchased by an unnamed private investor to provide for the next phase of the company’s growth. | February 23, 2021

Lawsuit alleged that the defendant’s use of the words “Vanilla Almondmilk” on the front label of its product packaging misleads consumers into believing that the source of the vanilla flavor is entirely vanilla bean extract, as opposed to various vanilla flavorings. | February 23, 2021

Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has just created a new 14-member commission: the Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture. The commission’s mandate is to strategize how to grow the agriculture business in Vermont. | February 23, 2021

Campbell v Whole Foods

In yet another in the never ending line of food “false labeling” lawsuits by consumers, a New Yorker is suing Whole Foods over graham crackers. The lawsuit claims that the packaging of Whole Foods’ “Organic Honey Graham Crackers” misleads consumers. | February 19, 2021 

Brew View Lawson's Finest. Photo credit Hawke Sleigh

Vermont craft beer lovers! Check out the latest issue of BrewView Vermont for the latest Vermont craft beer news, and featuring a terrific story on the positive impact Lawson’s Finest Liquids is having in the Mad River Valley, central Vermont, and the entire state with their community programs like the Sunshine Fund, the Good Brews for a Cause program, and the Green is Grand Initiative. Read the full article. | February 17, 2021

The Vermont legislature last year re-defined the term “local” as it relates to food and products sold in Vermont. | February 16, 2021

restaurant rescue plan

On January 28, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly (90 – 10) passed a bill for direct aid to the restaurant and bar industry. This “Restaurant Rescue Plan” was a bipartisan bill that had been awaiting action since June. | February 16, 2021

Happy Cows, Lawsuit Dismissed, Downs Rachlin Martin, Food and Beverage Law Blog

Attorney Walter Judge of Burlington, Vermont, assisting the firm of Shook Hardy & Bacon, obtained the dismissal of a purported consumer fraud class action lawsuit bought in Vermont federal court against ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s. | May 7, 2020

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