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Dining News: Sac Bee Calls for Change in Law Which Scuttled Grape Escape


The Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) announced today that the 2015 Grape Escape event has been canceled....

Posted by Sacramento's Grape Escape on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The SaveMart Grape Escape, a summer Sacramento tradition, was scrapped last week after organizers couldn't get enough wineries to participate after what some consider heavy-handed enforcement of the "tied house" laws. Now, the Sac Bee is calling for a change in the law:

Tied-house laws – so named because manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers cannot be tied to one another – prohibit makers of spirits from selling to the public, even in small quantities. They must instead find distributors who will deliver their product to retailers.

There might have been a reason for such a law 80 years ago. Now, the scheme protects big distributors and stifles entrepreneurs, who have opened small distilleries and hope to capture tourist dollars, as wineries and breweries have done.

Read the entire editorial in the Sac Bee.

The Sac Bee's Chris Macias wrote about the event's cancellation and what got the wineries in trouble last week.

In 2014, eight alcohol companies were investigated by the ABC following the event, which was sponsored by Save Mart. The problems arose from event-related social media activity that violated ABC’s “tied-house” laws. Though exceptions exist, alcohol producers (such as wineries and breweries) aren’t allowed to promote retailers (such as sponsor Save Mart), as spelled out in provisions of the California Business and Professions Code related to the alcohol industry.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

This is exactly what's wrong with government. They select which laws to enforce every day, and they choose to enforce a law that's not hurting anybody and leads the cancellation of a civic event enjoyed by thousands. Instead, they should focus their efforts on scofflaws causing the most harm to the most people and cracking down on that.

If this is truly a priority of the Department and they have the time and funding to go after this infraction, maybe the legislature needs to take a close look at their budget to see if the money could be better spent elsewhere.

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