Distributor Appeal of Massachusetts ABC Fine Fails

Distributor Craft Brewers Guild’s (CBG) appeal of the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission’s (ABCC) fine in the wake of the ABCC’s finding that CBG violated state rules against offering inducements to retailers has been denied. Craft Brewers Guild previously opted to pay a fine of over $2.5 million (based on profits earned in a 90-day period) rather than accept a license suspension of 90 days. In its appeal, CBG claimed that, in reaching its decision, the ABCC exceeded its authority, violated constitutional provisions, made errors of law and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The court, however, found that the case was at heart a matter of price discrimination, the illegality of which is unquestionable.

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Pete Johnson serves as the State & Regulatory Affairs Manager for the Brewers Association. He joined the BA at its inception in 2005, having previously worked as Programs Director for the Brewers Association of America. Before coming to the small brewing industry in 2001, Pete worked for 14 years with both state and federal elected officials in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

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