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Wholesale Laws for Montana

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Last Updated: July 2, 2018

Summary

The Montana Liquor Control Division (LCD) is part of the state’s Department of Revenue. It maintains control of alcoholic beverage licensing, enforcement of alcoholic beverage laws and wholesale distribution of distilled spirits and fortified wine (wine more than 16%).

Definitions (16-1-106, MCA):

“Liquor” means an alcoholic beverage except beer and table wine. The term includes a caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced malt beverage.

“Table wine” means wine that contains not more than 16% of alcohol by volume and includes cider.

“Wine” means an alcoholic beverage made from or containing the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of sound, ripe fruit or other agricultural products without addition or abstraction, except as may occur in the usual cellar treatment of clarifying and aging, and that contains more than 0.5% but not more than 24% of alcohol by volume. Wine may be ameliorated to correct natural deficiencies, sweetened, and fortified in accordance with applicable federal regulations and the customs and practices of the industry. Other alcoholic beverages not defined in this subsection but made in the manner of wine and labeled and sold as wine in accordance with federal regulations are also wine.

Laws & Rules:

Supplier Licensing

Required: Yes

Name: Foreign Winery Registration

Fee:

  • No Fee – 0-60 cases
  • $100 – 61- 500 cases
  • $200 – 501-1000 cases
  • $300 – 1001-2000 cases
  • $400 – 2001 + cases

Expiration: Sept. 30th of each year

A foreign winery is a winery located outside Montana and may only ship to licensed wine distributors in Montana and direct to consumers with a direct shipment endorsement. A foreign winery importer’s registration fees are based on how many cases of wine they ship into Montana. The following items must be submitted with each application:

  • Copies of TTB labels approvals for each brand of wine
  • A copy of your TTB basic permit
  • Copy of written agreement with each Montana table wine distributor

Wine over 16% is sold through the state control system.

Resources:

Product Registration

Required: Yes

Fee: No Fee

Approval: 2-3 weeks

Expiration: Does Not Expire

Revision Required: COLA change

Each product a winery or wine importer desires to sell in the state of Montana must be approved by the Montana Department of Revenue before such products may enter the Montana market. Labels may be submitted for approval through the “TransAction Portal (TAP) on the Department of Revenue website.

Resources:

Franchise "Monopoly Protection" Law

Franchise Law: Yes

Exclusive Territories: Not Required for Table Wine

Please review the law in its entirety and consult legal counsel prior to taking any action.

A supplier or table wine distributor must have a written agreement of distributorship that provides for purchase of the supplier’s products from the supplier by the table wine distributor. Within 60 days after entering into an agreement of distributorship, the supplier shall advise the department of the agreement by filing a copy of the agreement that must include the sales area or areas designated for the table wine distributor.

It is mandatory to include specific terms in the agreement.  Such terms are listed in the statute and include 60 days written notice for termination, with the table wine distributor given 60 days to cure the state deficiency.

A supplier may appoint one or more table wine distributors to distribute its table wines in a specified territory. If the supplier appoints two or more table wine distributors to sell its table wines in the same or overlapping territories, the supplier shall offer the same prices, delivery, terms, and promotional support to each table wine distributor.  However, a supplier may NOT appoint more than one distributor to distribute its hard cider in its specified territory.

All agreements of distributorship are interpreted and governed by the laws of Montana.

Resources:

Supplier Reporting Requirements

Required: Yes

Name: Monthly Report Of Wine Shipments

Due Date: Monthly, by the 15th

The monthly report of table wine shipments into the state of Montana must be filed electronically through the TransAction Portal (TAP).

Resources:

Sales Representative Licensing

Available: No

A salesperson’s license is not required.

Self-Distribution

Allowed: Yes

License: Required

License Name: Out-of-State Winery License

License Fee:

  • $400 initial license, plus $200 one-time fee;
  • $200 renewals

License Expiration: June 30th of each year

Label Registration: Required

Excise Tax: Required – Monthly by the 15th 

Reporting: Required – – Monthly by the 15th 

An out-of-state winery may obtain an Out-of-State Winery License allowing the licensee to self-distribute up to 4,500 cases annually via common carrier to Montana retailers. In addition, the holder of such a permit may also use their own company vehicles to deliver an additional 4,500 cases of wine annually if they choose to do so. The fee for the initial license is $400 plus an additional onetime $200 application processing fee.

The Out-of-State Winery license must be renewed by June 30th of each year. The renewal fee is $200. Applicants should apply for an out-of-state winery license using the Out-of-State Winery License Application (Form OWAP). Apply online through the TAP Portal.

Resources:

Trade Practice Advisories

Montana Department of Revenue
Liquor Control Division
125 North Roberts
Helena, MT 59620
Phone: 406-444-6900
Fax: 406-444-0722

 

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This information is intended for winegrower licensees only. All information above is provided as an informational aid and is not legal advice. Data may be out-of-date or incomplete. Please consult a lawyer before taking any action.