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WEST VIRGINIA CODE

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CHAPTER 11. TAXATION.

ARTICLE 16. NONINTOXICATING BEER.

§11-16-3. Definitions.

For the purpose of this article, except where the context clearly requires differently:

(1) "Brand" means a nonintoxicating beer product manufactured, brewed, mixed, concocted, blended, bottled or otherwise produced, imported, or transshipped by a brewer or manufacturer, the labels of which have been registered and approved by the commissioner, that is being offered for sale or sold in West Virginia by a distributor who has been appointed in a valid franchise agreement or a valid amendment thereto.

(2) "Brewer" or "manufacturer" means any person manufacturing, otherwise producing, importing, or transshipping nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer for sale at wholesale to any licensed distributor. Brewer or manufacturer may be used interchangeably throughout this article. A brewer may obtain only one brewer"s license for its nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer.

(3) "Brewpub" means a place of manufacture of nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer owned by a resident brewer, subject to federal and state regulations and guidelines, a portion of which premises is designated for retail sales of nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer by the resident brewer owning the brewpub.

(4) "Class A retail license" means a retail license permitting the retail sale of liquor at a freestanding liquor retail outlet licensed pursuant to chapter 60 of this code.

(5) "Class B retail license" means a retail license permitting the retail sale of liquor at a mixed retail liquor outlet licensed pursuant to chapter 60 of this code.

(6) "Commissioner" means the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration Commissioner.

(7) "Distributor" means and includes any person jobbing or distributing nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer to retailers at wholesale and whose warehouse and chief place of business shall be within this state. For purposes of a distributor only, the term "person" means and includes an individual, firm, trust, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, association or corporation. Any trust licensed as a distributor or any trust that is an owner of a distributor licensee, and the trustee or other persons in active control of the activities of the trust relating to the distributor license, is liable for acts of the trust or its beneficiaries relating to the distributor license that are unlawful acts or violations of §11-11-1 et seq. of this code notwithstanding the liability of trustees in §44D-10-1 et seq. of this code.

(8) "Franchise agreement" means the written agreement between a brewer and a distributor that is identical as to terms and conditions between the brewer and all its distributors, which agreement has been approved by the commissioner. The franchise agreement binds the parties so that a distributor, appointed by a brewer, may distribute all of the brewer"s nonintoxicating beer products, brands or family of brands imported and offered for sale in West Virginia, including, but not limited to, existing brands, line extensions, and new brands all in the brewer"s assigned territory for the distributor. All brands and line extensions being imported or offered for sale in West Virginia must be listed by the brewer in the franchise agreement or a written amendment to the franchise agreement. A franchise agreement may be amended by mutual written agreement of the parties as approved by the commissioner with identical terms and conditions for a brewer and all of its distributors. Any approved amendment to the franchise agreement becomes a part of the franchise agreement. A brewer and a distributor may mutually agree in writing to cancel a franchise agreement. A distributor terminated by a brewer as provided in this article and the promulgated rules no longer has a valid franchise agreement. If a brewer has reached an agreement to cancel a distributor or has terminated a distributor, then a brewer may appoint a successor distributor who accedes to all the rights of the cancelled or terminated distributor.

(9) "Franchise distributor network" means the distributors who have entered into a binding written franchise agreement, identical as to terms and conditions, to distribute nonintoxicating beer products, brands, and line extensions in an assigned territory for a brewer. A brewer may only have one franchise distributor network: Provided, That a brewer that has acquired the manufacturing, bottling, or other production rights for the sale of nonintoxicating beer at wholesale from a selling brewer as specified in §11-16-21(a)(2) of this code shall continue to maintain and be bound by the selling brewer"s separate franchise distributor"s network for any of its existing brands, line extensions, and new brands.

(10) "Freestanding liquor retail outlet" means a retail outlet that sells only liquor, wine, beer, nonintoxicating beer, and other alcohol-related products, as defined pursuant to §60-3A-4 of this code.

(11) "Growler" means a container or jug that is made of glass, ceramic, metal, or other material approved by the commissioner, that may be no larger than 128 fluid ounces in size and must be capable of being securely sealed. The growler is utilized by an authorized licensee for purposes of off-premise sales only of nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer for personal consumption not on a licensed premise and not for resale. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, a securely sealed growler is not an open container under federal, state, and local law. A growler with a broken seal is an open container under federal, state, and local law unless it is located in an area of the motor vehicle physically separated from the passenger compartment. The secure sealing of a growler requires the use of a tamper-resistant seal, security tape, or other material, as approved by the commissioner, placed on or over the growler"s opening, which seal, security tape or other material is clearly marked with the date of the secure sealing by the authorized licensee who is selling the growler.

(12) "Line extension" means any nonintoxicating beer product that is an extension of brand or family of brands that is labeled, branded, advertised, marketed, promoted, or offered for sale with the intent or purpose of being manufactured, imported, associated, contracted, affiliated, or otherwise related to a brewer"s existing brand through the use of a brewer, its subsidiaries, parent entities, contracted entities, affiliated entities, or other related entities. In determining whether a nonintoxicating beer product is a line extension, the commissioner may consider, but is not limited to, the following factors: Name or partial name; trade name or partial trade name; logos; copyrights; trademarks or trade design; product codes; advertising promotion; or pricing.

(13) "Nonintoxicating beer" means all natural cereal malt beverages or products of the brewing industry commonly referred to as beer, lager beer, ale and all other mixtures and preparations produced by the brewing industry, including malt coolers and nonintoxicating craft beers with no caffeine infusion or any additives masking or altering the alcohol effect containing at least one half of one percent alcohol by volume, but not more than 11.9 percent of alcohol by weight, or 15 percent alcohol by volume, whichever is greater. The word "liquor" as used in chapter 60 of this code does not include or embrace nonintoxicating beer nor any of the beverages, products, mixtures, or preparations included within this definition.

(14) "Nonintoxicating beer floor plan extension" means a temporary one-day extension of an existing Class A licensee"s floor plan to a contiguous, adjoining and bounded area, such as a parking lot or outdoor area, which shall for the temporary period encompass the licensee"s licensed premises; further such license shall be endorsed or approved by the county or municipality where the license is located; such license shall be in good standing with the commissioner, and further such temporary event shall cease on or before midnight of the approved temporary one-day event.

(15) "Nonintoxicating beer sampling event" means an event approved by the commissioner for a Class A retail licensee to hold a nonintoxicating beer sampling authorized pursuant to §11-16-11a of this code.

(16) "Nonintoxicating beer sampling day" means any days and hours of the week where Class A retail licensees may sell nonintoxicating beer pursuant to §11-16-11a and §11-16-18(a)(1) of this code, and is approved, in writing, by the commissioner to conduct a nonintoxicating beer sampling event.

(17) "Nonintoxicating craft beer" means any beverage obtained by the natural fermentation of barley, malt, hops, or any other similar product or substitute and containing not less than one half of one percent by volume and not more than 15 percent alcohol by volume or 11.9 percent alcohol by weight with no caffeine infusion or any additives masking or altering the alcohol effect.

(18) "Original container" means the container used by a resident brewer or brewer at the place of manufacturing, bottling, or otherwise producing nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer for sale at wholesale.

(19) "Person" means and includes an individual, firm, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, association, or corporation.

(20) "Private club" means a license issued pursuant to §60-7-1 et seq. of this code.

(21) "Resident brewer" means any brewer or manufacturer of nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer whose principal place of business and manufacture is located in the State of West Virginia and which does not brew or manufacture more than 25,000 barrels of nonintoxicating beer or nonintoxicating craft beer annually, and does not self-distribute more than 10,000 barrels thereof in the State of West Virginia annually.

(22) "Retailer" means any person selling, serving, or otherwise dispensing nonintoxicating beer and all products regulated by this article, including, but not limited to, malt coolers at his or her established and licensed place of business.

(23) "Tax Commissioner" means the Tax Commissioner of the State of West Virginia or the commissioner"s designee.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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