Interview with John Hinman: Pending ABC Emergency Order Puts Alcohol License Holders at Risk


“They will be able to shut down a licensee after a hearing on a five days notice,” says John Hinman, founding partner of Hinman & Carmichael, LLP. of the The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s (ABC) new proposed Emergency Order, and calls it an unnecessary violation of due process.

John HinmanHinman has been advising and representing alcoholic beverage industry clients (producer, importer, wholesaler and retail) since 1976 in all phases of industry regulation, including trade practice, distribution and importation, product fulfillment, retail licensing and production. Hinman is a specialist in alcohol regulation in California, and throughout the United States, is a regular speaker and panelist at alcoholic beverage industry conferences throughout the US, has provided testimony in legislative and administrative proceedings in California, New York, New Jersey and Tennessee and has been named one of the Top 50 Wine Industry Leaders for several years running.

Hinman & Carmichael LLP has been drawing attention to the new Emergency Order on their Booze Rules blog and advocating against it by submitting comments to the ABC and encouraging others to do the same. The deadline for submitting a comment to the Office of Administrative Law on the due process rules is Tuesday May 25, and they could take effect within two weeks if adopted. Hinman notes that you don’t have to be a license holder to comment; anyone with an interest in the industry can submit comments.

The latest ABC Emergency Rules is also set to include Minor Decoy sting operations on delivery drivers that fail to check ID when dropping off alcohol at the door, which could result in emergency license suspension and penalties for carriers.

However, Hinman also has some praise for the ABC saying, “The ABC is being responsible in terms of regulatory relief,” and he is hopeful that they can eventually become permanent, especially if they show positive effects and non-violation during the relief period, it will be powerful tool to advocate permanency of relief actions. But it will require a regulatory review.

For now Hinman cautions license holders to be careful to understand the regulatory relief guidelines and make sure that they’re operating within them, and also to be aware that they can change on short notice.

See the full interview in the video above.