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California Law Allows More Promotional Giveaways
Volume 664
November 24, 2009

Retailers in California can now offer a far greater number of promotional products to entice beer purchases, following a change to the state's business code. California's Alcohol Beverage Commission announced the amendment, which permits beer retailers to offer promotional items that have a $3.00 maximum value. Previously, California law allowed a maximum product value of just 25 cents.

"I think this is a big lift not only for our industry but for the beer companies," says Scott Mollahan, president of Orinda, CA-based Insight Resource Group (asi/231569). "I know that most retailers have been asking for discounts and instant rebate coupons instead of displays or promotions which only hurt the margins of the stores and liquor companies. This will now be an avenue to entice the consumer without slashing pricing."

The change, recently signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger, specifies only beer purchases. In the original bill, a $5.00 maximum value limit was proposed, similar to laws regarding distilled spirits like gin, rum and vodka. Several states, including Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts, have no dollar limits for promotional items offered to beer consumers. According to a legislative report, the beer industry supplies 200,000 jobs in California and provides $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.

Before the amendment, California law dramatically limited the value of marketing novelties and promotional items tied to beer purchases for more than 70 years.

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