California Bill Could Boost Branded Beer Glass Giveaways

The proposed legislation would allow beer makers to give up to five cases of logoed glassware to each licensed bar or restaurant in the Golden State.

In a Nutshell

*Assembly Bill 2573, which allows for the branded glassware giveaways, is currently in the California State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

*A similar bill passed in Florida earlier this year.

Promotional products companies eager to up sales of branded beer glasses might be in line for a boon from California legislators.

The California State Assembly is considering a bill that would allow beer makers to give up to five cases of logoed glassware or non-glass containers to every licensed bar and restaurant that sells alcohol for consumption on-premise and off in the Golden State.

Logoed pint glass from California-based beer maker Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

Assembly Bill 2573 says each qualified licensed location in California could accept up to 10 cases of logoed glassware from various beer makers per calendar year.

Currently, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act prevents beer makers and other licensees from distributing premiums, gifts or free goods of greater than inconsequential value in connection with the sale or distribution alcohol. If passed, Bill 2573 would potentially open up new promotional opportunities for beer makers – and sales opportunities advertising specialty distributors.

The bill says that the retail locations are barred from giving away the glasses, selling them, or returning them to the manufacturer for cash, credit or replacement. Beer manufacturers can’t condition the giving of glassware upon the expectation that bars and the like will purchase their suds. Similarly, businesses that retail alcohol can’t predicate the purchase of a beer maker’s brews on receiving logoed glassware.

Under the bill’s legal language, a case is defined as a box containing up to 24 pieces of glassware. “Glassware” means a single-service glass container or non-glass container capable of holding up to 23 ounces of liquid.

According to California records, the bill currently rests in “Suspense File” with the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee. The committee sends any bill with an annual cost of more than $150,000 to suspense file. Suspense File bills are then considered at a hearing after the state budget has been prepared and the committee has a better sense of available revenue. It’s unclear when such a hearing might occur for Assembly Bill 2573.

A similar bill passed in Florida earlier this year. The bill in California enjoys support from Anheuser-Bush inBev – the world’s largest brewer. “We believe the ability for the beer industry to provide retailers branded glassware will elevate consumers’ enjoyment of different styles of beer and increase interest in beer in a competitive marketplace,” A-B Spokesman Josh Gold told Brewbound.

Interestingly, the California Craft Brewers Association initially opposed an earlier incarnation of the bill on glassware giveaways. Lacking the caps on giveaways that the bill currently under consideration has, the older version of the bill would have allowed large corporate brewers like A-B inBev to flood the market with branded items, to the detriment of craft brewers, the CCBA maintained. CCBA is okay with the revised bill. 

“They [retailers] are going to have to pick and choose who they want to accept that glassware from,” Tom McCormick, CCBA’s executive director, told Brewbound. “We feel in most cases that it’s going to be from craft breweries and not from major global beer companies. So we’re not perfectly happy with it, but we’re content with it, and feel dramatically better than how it was originally written.”