Page 6 - Beverage Master August-September 2019
P. 6

Craft Beverage

               YIKES! $2,600,000 FINE


                I     n March 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme         The Court held that CBG violated commercial brib-

                                                                    ery regulations  and participated in a commercial
                      Judicial Court (the Court) affirmed a $2.6
                      million dollar fine against Craft Brewers
                      Guild (CBG), a wholesaler. The reason,        bribery scheme to encourage retailers to supply
                                                                    CBG distributed products. The Court held that this
               alleged violation of anti-price discrimination stat-  type of commercial bribery falls with the purpose
               utes and other commercial bribery regulations.       of the Massachusetts Liquor Control Act. CBG’s
                                                                    conduct was allegedly illegal because the regula-
                                  Allegations                       tions prohibit companies like CBG from providing
                                                                    money to induce the purchase of certain alcoholic
                 CBG allegedly paid companies money as a rebate     beverages. When money is given to a company to
               in exchange for an agreement to sell CBG product     persuade that company to purchase a product, at
               at bars and restaurants. To hide the payments,       that point there is a possible violation of these reg-
               these companies allegedly billed CBG for services    ulations.
               like marketing support and promotional services
               that never happened.                                   In the present case CBG allegedly did not offer
                                                                    these rebates to all retailers, and rebate amounts

               4   August - September  2019     BEVERAGE MASTER

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