Distributor Appeal of Massachusetts ABC Fine Fails

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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.