How a Tweet Nearly Cost a Wine Maker their Liquor License

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Simple tweets are causing some trouble for some local vintners and brewers who wanted to get the word out about a Sacramento event.

Grape Escape was billed as one of the largest wine tasting events in northern California this summer. SaveMart sponsored the event. But if you’re one of those providing the booze, you’re not allow to say so.

If you make it, you’re not allowed to tell people where to buy it.

“We don’t want the large manufacturer’s having undue influence on retailers,” said Deputy Division Chief Michael Corson of the California Alcohol Control Board.

That mid-century law gets a little tricky in the social media age. So when those local brewers and vintners starting tweeting about Grape Escape, they ran afoul of the rules by mentioning SaveMart

“They’re not going down for a suspension, they’re not paying a fine. They’re just having it over their heads for a year, then it goes away,” said Corson.

We spoke with the owner of one brewery who’s facing the year of those “good-behavior-or-else” sanctions. He said the event was named the “SaveMart Grape Escape,” so that’s why his business tweeted it that way, without removing the SaveMart part.

“During the investigation it came up that 75% of them, 30 of them, actually removed the name of the retailer from the tweets they did, or from their Facebook,” Corson said.

10 did not. For those wineries and brewers, the ACB has issued a suspension that’s been stayed. That means they are allowed to continue operating as normal, and if the businesses have no further trouble within the next year, there are no further sanctions.

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