Center for Alcohol Policy Holds 15th Annual Alcohol Law & Policy Conference

Nashville, TN – The Center for Alcohol Policy held its 15th annual Alcohol Law & Policy Conference August 30-31st,  featuring record attendance. The conference brought together regulators, public health advocates, law enforcement and cultural leaders to discuss current and future trends and issues impacting the alcohol industry. 

“The alcohol industry faces many critical and constantly evolving priorities.  From current litigation and issues like direct-to-consumer shipping and trade practices, to the effects of alcohol on public health and safety, alcohol law and policy play an important role in today’s society. This conference provides a valuable opportunity for parties across the alcohol sector to discuss and debate these issues, connect and learn from one another,” said Kelly Roberson, Executive Director of the Center for Alcohol Policy. “I want to thank all our speakers and attendees for providing for a robust discussion with the highest attendance yet for this conference.”

In his keynote address, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr discussed some of the top priorities for his office, including consumer protection, prosecuting fraud and corruption, and addressing cyber fraud. He stressed his commitment to a state-based alcohol regulation, as well as the importance of maintaining a stable and reliable legal and regulatory environment in general. Businesses should have clear laws and regulations on which they can rely. He thanked the Center for Alcohol Policy for its partnership and important work to advance alcohol policy.

Carr also discussed his focus on the fight against human trafficking and thanked beer distributors for their partnership on this critical issue through the Distributors Against Human Trafficking Initiative. This initiative gives beer distribution employees the training and resources necessary to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking.  

In addition, attendees heard panel discussions on the 21st Amendment and current alcohol litigation, got an update from federal and state regulators, and heard discussions on how alcohol law and regulation affects public health and safety, in particular traffic safety. Discussions also centered around current hot topics in alcohol regulation, such as direct-to-consumer shipping, drinks to go and new entrants into the marketplace.  Participants also heard a conversation about some of the cultural impacts of alcohol and how it has impacted music and culture over the course of the 20th century.

As part of the conference, the Center presented its 2022 Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Awards to Becky Schlauch, Administrator of the Montana Department of Revenue’s Liquor Control Division, and Thomas Graham, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Executive Director.


Montana Alcohol Regulator Receives 10th Annual Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award

Nashville, TN – The Center for Alcohol Policy is pleased to announce it is awarding Becky Schlauch, Administrator of the Montana Department of Revenue’s Liquor Control Division, with its 2022 Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award.

The Center announced the award, which recognizes a specific program, agency or person who oversees the alcohol industry and promotes public health and safety, at the 15th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference.  

“The Center is proud to present this award to Becky Schlauch for providing leadership within the alcohol industry,” said Kelly Roberson, Executive Director of the Center for Alcohol Policy. “Becky is a true public servant, dedicating her career to ensuring government works for the people it serves. She understands the importance of responsible alcohol regulation and how it impacts businesses and communities.”

In July of 2017, Schlauch became the Administrator of the Liquor Control Division, where to this day, she operates the state’s control system for spirits, manages the state liquor warehouse and maintains a profitable operation. Schlauch was also the project lead on revamping the license violation process.  Instead of embroiling licensees in lengthy administrative hearings when there is a violation or alleged violation, the new process works toward a settlement with both sides often learning valuable lessons on how the law can be enforced and businesses can be better managed.  This ‘compliance verification’ process as she calls it, has made violation procedures less legalistic and less intimidating.  She has also worked to train licensees at the beginning of their licensure. 

“Becky approaches her work with a spirit of collaboration and common sense,” added Roberson. “She solves problems and is well respected among her peers.”

Schlauch also sits on the board of directors for the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association and works closely with the Montana Alcoholic Beverage Coalition to provide strategic counsel on legislative matters. Her guidance led to various pieces of legislation drafted by the Coalition being passed in the last legislative session.

Prior to becoming the Liquor Control Division Administrator, Schlauch was the Administrator for the Business and Financial Services Division for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.


Texas Alcohol Regulator Receives 10th Annual Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award

Nashville, TN – The Center for Alcohol Policy honored Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Executive Director Thomas Graham with its 2022 Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award.  The award recognizes the work of alcohol regulators across the country who oversee the alcohol industry and promote public health and safety. The award was presented at the Center’s 15th Annual Alcohol Law & Policy Conference.

“For the last 17 years, Thomas Graham has been a respected and trusted leader in the alcohol industry. As the alcohol marketplace and consumer expectations in Texas have changed, Graham and the TABC have remained nimble and forward looking, ensuring that the manufacture, distribution, sale and service of alcohol in Texas remains safe and properly regulated,” said Kelly Roberson, Executive Director of the Center for Alcohol Policy.

“I also want to commend the TABC for their tremendous leadership in the fight against human trafficking. Since 2013, the agency has canceled the liquor permits of more than 130 businesses accused of engaging in organized crime, including human trafficking, narcotics trafficking and money laundering. This is a great service to communities across the state.  The Center for Alcohol Policy is proud to honor Thomas Graham and the TABC for their tremendous work on behalf of the alcohol industry and Texas communities.”

Graham has served at the TABC for the last 17 years and was recently sworn in as Executive Director.  He has also served as an auditor, head of the Marketing Practices offices at the TABC Austin headquarters, director of Excise Tax and Marketing Practices, as well as interim Director of Licensing.

Graham holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and is a graduate of the Governor’s Executive Development Program at the University of Texas’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.


2022 Alcohol Law and Policy Conference Sessions Announced

We are pleased to announce our featured speakers, sessions, and an abbreviated schedule for travel purposes at our 15th Annual Alcohol Law & Policy Conference August 29-31, 2022 in Nashville, TN.

We can’t wait to see you all in person next month!

Click below to learn more about the sessions we’re offering this summer in Nashville, and to take a look at our abbreviated schedule as you make your travel plans.

Featured Speakers:

  • The Honorable Chris Carr, Attorney General of Georgia 
  • Representative from the US Department of Tax and Trade Bureau 
  • Katie Rainge-Briggs, National Museum of African American Music 
  • John Neiman, Maynard Cooper 
  • Brian Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School 
  • Patrick Lynch, Former Attorney General of Rhode Island 
  • J.T. Griffin, Griffin Strategies 
  • Pat Gagliardi, Michigan Liquor Control Commission 
  • Pam Erickson, Public Action Management 
  • Brannon Denning, Samford University Cumberland School of Law 
  • Patrick Maroney, Maroney Consulting Services 
  • Steve Schmidt, National Alcohol Beverage Control Association 
  • Becky Schlauch, Montana Alcoholic Beverages Control Division 
  • Jerry Oliver, Former Director of Arizona Liquor Licenses and Control, former police chief 
  • John Bodnovich, American Beverage Licensees 
  • Lisa Hutcheson, Mental Health America of Indiana 
  • Russell Thomas, Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission 
  • Jim Hall, Former Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board 
  • Maria Everett, Virginia ABC 
  • Don McGeHee, Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division 
  • Raimee Eck, Sonrisa Solutions 
  • Paul Pisano, National Beer Wholesalers Association 

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown and you may book your room using the link below. Please reach out directly to the Center if you are seeking a government rate.

*A reminder to all that the room block closes on August 8th*

Add to Calendar

Center Announces Law Enforcement Webinar on August 10, 2022

Law enforcement has faced many challenges over the last few years that have had a major impact on issues important to the Center for Alcohol Policy.  This includes issues of public safety, enforcement of alcohol laws, and impaired driving. 

During the Covid pandemic, traffic deaths increased to the highest levels in 16 years.  Patterns and laws for alcohol sales and consumption have changed.  And social justice and equity are issues at the forefront in America.  All these factors have put enormous pressure and created unique challenges for law enforcement.

Last year the Center released a report on the History of Drunk Driving and found that police retirements were up 45 percent, resignations increased 18 percent, and new hires were down 5 percent. 

Our latest webinar brings together law enforcement experts from around the country for a panel discussion on what issues are most impacting policing and what can be done to ensure public safety. 

We hope you will join us for this exciting conversation!

Webinar Speakers include: 

Kelly Roberson, Executive Director, Center for Alcohol Policy   

Jerry Oliver, Center for Alcohol Policy Advisor, Former Chief of Police, Former Director of the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control

J.T. Griffin, Principal, Griffin Strategies  

Mike Brown, Former Chief of Police, Alexandria, VA  

Dottie Taylor, Missouri Alcohol & Tobacco Control

Matthew Botting, California Alcoholic Beverage Control

Traffic Safety Webinar Roundup

On Wednesday, June 15th, the Center, in conjunction with J.T. Griffin of Griffin Strategies, hosted a webinar addressing current trends in alcohol consumption and traffic safety.

Featuring leading industry experts, our panelists discussed the nuances of traffic safety including technological innovation, alcohol delivery services, recent concerning trends, and so much more.

Panelists included:

  • Cassie Tourre, National Alcohol Beverage Control Association
  • Jeff Michael, Johns Hopkins University
  • Matthew Stemple, North Carolina Department of Public Safety
  • Kelly Roberson, Center for Alcohol Policy

Three key takeaways from our webinar include:

  • Look upstream and consider solutions that can prevent drunk driving from ever occurring in the first place. Making sure that alcohol is consumed safely and properly and that it is sold in a way that does not encourage excessive consumption.
  • Consider applying for funding through the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program.
  • Review the Center’s recent national survey on alcohol regulation where 56% of Americans want lawmakers to evaluate broader impact before implementing permanent changes to alcohol laws.

You can watch the video below and slides from our presenters can be found HERE.

Stay tuned as the Center will be hosting a follow up conversation regarding the intersection of drunk driving and law enforcement – from the perspective of both traffic safety and alcohol law enforcement.

Click HERE to read a summary of our 2022 webinar series.

Center Announces Traffic Safety Webinar on June 15th

On June 15th, 2022, at 2:00 PM Eastern, the Center for Alcohol Policy will host a Webinar on traffic safety and alcohol use featuring several national leaders to talk about a disturbing trend on our nation’s highways and in our communities.   

During the COVID Pandemic, traffic deaths soared to new heights.  While many predicted the crisis would lead to a reduction in highway deaths, the opposite occurred.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced early estimates for traffic deaths in 2021 and the findings are grim.  According to NHTSA, traffic deaths reached a 16 year high in 2021, with an estimated 42,195 deaths amounting to a 10.5% overall increase in deaths.  This follows a two-year trend of increasing highway deaths and injuries.   

While the news is not good, the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contained several provisions that could help, including new technologies aimed at stopping distracted and impaired driving.  In addition, the Department of Transportation launched the National Roadway Safety Strategy which adopts the international Safe Systems approach to highway safety. 

Impaired Driving continues to play a major role in traffic deaths.  According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), in 2020 alcohol impaired driving deaths increased 14% to 11,654.  Among the concerns for this increase includes challenges facing law enforcement, including alcohol deregulation.   

This Webinar will include the latest information on traffic deaths as well as share potential solution for to stop these tragedies 

Webinar Speakers include: 

Kelly Roberson, Executive Director, Center for Alcohol Policy   

Jim Hall, Former NTSB Chairman  

J.T. Griffin, Principal, Griffin Strategies  

Jeff Michael, Johns Hopkins University,  

Matthew Stemple, NC Dept of Public Safety  

Cassie Tourre, National Alcohol Beverage Control Association  

Center for Alcohol Policy Applauds 4th Circuit Decision Upholding North Carolina Alcohol Law

The Center Submitted Amicus Brief Urging Support for North Carolina

Statement of Center for Alcohol Policy Executive Director Kelly Roberson on the decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the district court decision on the B-21 v. Bauer case:

“The Center for Alcohol Policy applauds the Fourth Circuit for upholding North Carolina’s requirement that all alcohol sold by retailers go through its three-tier system. As the amicus brief filed jointly by the Center for Alcohol Policy and the North Carolina Association of ABC Boards noted, the historical reasons for strong state-based alcohol regulation are grounded in public health, constitutional and competitive concerns.

“We are pleased that the court recognized points from our amicus brief and quoted from Toward Liquor Control to highlight the concerns of vertical integration. As the court properly noted, ‘Put most simply, applying the same stringent test to an alcoholic beverage control regime would undermine Section 2 of the Twenty-first Amendment.‘ The court was correct to reject the plaintiffs’ attempts to micromanage state alcohol laws and make it nearly impossible for states to defend their laws with the court.”

The Center for Alcohol Policy looks forward to continuing to be a resource and to educate policymakers, the courts and the public about alcohol and its effective regulatory structure.


Save the Date!

We are planning to hold our 15th Annual Alcohol Law & Policy Conference August 29-31, 2022 in Nashville, TN and we can’t wait to see you all in person again later this year!

The conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown and you may book your room using the link below. Please reach out directly to the Center if you are seeking a government rate.

Add to Calendar

Center Files 5th Amicus Brief in Support of State Alcohol Laws

The Center for Alcohol Policy has submitted an amicus brief in Chicago Wine Company v. Eric Holcomb and Wine and Spirits Wholesales of Indiana before the 7th Circuit in support of Indiana state retail delivery laws. The plaintiffs in the case allege that the Indiana laws do not favor their business model and violate the Dormant Commerce Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the United States Constitution.

Learn more about the case here.

This is the 5th amicus brief the Center has submitted in support of state alcohol laws over the course of 5 years. The Center’s most recent brief in the Chicago Wine Company case supports the State of Indiana and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers. It expounds on the historical context in which states developed and implemented unique three-tier distribution systems and regulations like the ones at issue in the 7th Circuit. The concerns that guided states to adopt this robust and efficient regulatory system after the repeal of Prohibition help to explain why these Indiana laws – and similar laws across the country – serve legitimate goals under the Twenty-first Amendment. You can read the Center’s brief here

14th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference: Highlights from Chicago

The Center for Alcohol Policy returned to the Windy City August 29-31, 2021, to host its 14th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference (ALPC) with exceptional attendance and an array of highly rated sessions on topics ranging from the intricacies of alcohol regulations and product definitions to a presentation by Dr. David Jernigan on the regulation of cannabis and lessons learned from alcohol. 

The ALPC brings together a wide range of stakeholders in the alcohol policy arena to learn about and discuss trending issues and network with regulators, lawmakers, public health advocates, and industry representatives from all three tiers. This year’s hybrid event hosted over 170 in-person and virtual attendees from nearly 40 states. And despite the complexities of hosting a partially virtual experience while navigating public health protocols to ensure a safe environment for everyone in-person, feedback received from attendees was outstanding.


Minnesota Alcohol Regulator Receives 9th Annual Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award

The Center for Alcohol Policy is pleased to announce that Carla Cincotta, Director of the Alcohol and Gambling Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, is the recipient of the Ninth Annual Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award.  

The award, which recognizes a specific program, agency or person who oversees the alcohol industry and promotes public health and safety, was announced yesterday evening during the Center’s 14th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference.   


New Report Highlights Open Container Laws as Important Countermeasure Against Drunk Driving, Raises Safety Questions in Response to Recent Alcohol-To-Go Legislation

Today the Center for Alcohol  Policy released a new white paper outlining the legislative history of open container laws in America, how they act as an important countermeasure in the fight to prevent drunk driving, and also addresses the significant safety questions raised by recent alcohol-to-go legislation following the COVID-19 pandemic. 


New White Paper Identifies Legislative Successes in Fight Against Drunk Driving, Finds Challenges Still Exist

Today the Center for Alcohol Policy released its latest report outlining the legislative history of drunk driving in America, progress made in the fight against it, and present and future challenges that still exist. The white paper was commissioned by the Center and authored by J.T. Griffin, principal of Griffin Strategies, LLC and former Chief Government Affairs Officer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).


Now Accepting Entries for the 2021 National Writing Competition

We are now accepting entries for our 14th Annual National Writing Competition. This national academic event is intended to foster debate, analysis, and examination of state alcohol regulation in the 21st Century.  Each year, students and professionals are encouraged to participate in this significant effort to bring attention to state alcohol regulation, its complexities and many successes. 1st – 3rd place recipients have a chance to win $5,000, $2,500, or $1,000 respectively. 


Responsible Retailing Forum Releases Second Research Brief in Series on Underage Sales and Why They Occur

Brad Krevor, director of the Responsible Retailing Forum (RRF), is releasing a series of research briefs based on “insights and learnings from 25 years of research in responsible retailing.” You can download brief #1 here

His second brief explores a new strategy for achieving compliance. Krevor outlines that the persistence of underage sales despite staff training, point-of-sales protocols, and supervisory practices has led to a new strategy to improve ID-checking that is equally effective with retail stores and on-premises serving establishments.


TTB Deputy Administrator David Wulf to Present at 2021 ALPC

We are pleased to announce that Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Deputy Administrator David Wulf will present at the Center’s 14th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference in Chicago August 29-31.

In this capacity, Mr. Wulf oversees the collection of approximately $20 billion per year in federal alcohol, tobacco, and firearms and ammunition excise taxes, as well as the regulatory frameworks and permitting systems established for those industries under the authority of the Internal Revenue Code and the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.

Mr. Wulf will deliver an update on the bureau’s activities, provide insightful information, and answer many of your lingering questions about the laws and regulations the agency enforces. 


Responsible Retailing Forum Releases First Research Brief in Series on Insights from 25 Years

Brad Krevor, director of the Responsible Retailing Forum (RRF), will be releasing a series of research briefs based on “insights and learnings from 25 years of research in responsible retailing.”

His first brief, which was released this week, addresses underage sales of alcohol, why they occur, and reviews a study conducted by researchers at Brandeis University that analyzed the implementation and effectiveness of an ExxonMobil Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC), a responsible retailing program. The study revealed why underage sales persist despite intensive training and point-of-point sales protocols. 


Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to Keynote 2021 ALPC

We are pleased to announce that the Honorable Kwame Raoul will keynote the Center’s 14th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference taking place in Chicago, August 29-31, 2021. 

2021 ALPC Registration Now Open!

Registration for the Center for Alcohol Policy’s 14th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference  is officially open! The 2021 ALPC will be held Monday, August 29 – Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in Chicago, IL. at the Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile. Registration and accommodation details can be found on our conference page.

This year’s program and agenda are being finalized and will be posted to the Center for Alcohol Policy’s website as soon as it’s available. The Center is also exploring the possibility of offering a virtual attendance option. For an idea of the content that will be provided, you can view our 2019 and 2020 agendas. We look forward to seeing you all later this summer!


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Center for Alcohol Policy
277 S. Washington Street Suite 500-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090