One of the nation’s largest beverage wholesalers files amicus brief in support of Total Wine’s challenge to Connecticut’s anti-competitive liquor pricing and alcohol post-and-hold rules.

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, one of the nation’s largest alcoholic beverage distributors, has filed an amicus brief in support of Total Wine’s cert petition requesting the United States Supreme Court review the Second Circuit’s denial of Total Wine’s antitrust challenge to Connecticut’s post-and-hold, minimum pricing, and volume discount laws. You can read the brief in support of liquor retailer’s rights to have fluid pricing here.

Briefly, Total Wine, a retailer, brought suit and lost its challenge asserting that three of Connecticut’s alcohol regulations violate antitrust principles and stifle competition. If you want the background on these alcohol regulations and what the District Court and the Second Circuit ruled (Total Wine lost), here is the post we did back in February of 2019 describing the case and the Second Circuit’s ruling regarding the liquor store’s antitrust challenge to Connecticut’s post-and-hold pricing statutes for distributors’ alcohol sales to retailers.

The arguments Southern makes support the cause for eliminating the post-and-hold laws and focus primarily on that regulation to the exclusion of the minimum pricing and volume discount regulations that Total Wine also challenges. 

First, Southern asserts that post-and-hold laws for alcohol (beer, wine, and spirits) pricing suppress competition. These laws hurt consumers by keeping pricing to retailers and, hence, to  consumers artificially high, and also by impeding competition between distributors and wholesalers over pricing. This argument about the anti-competitive effect of the post-and-hold regulation is persuasive and definitely worth the read. 

Second, Southern backs Total Wine’s request for a decision given the nationwide prevalence of post-and-hold alcohol pricing laws and the need for a cohesive national determination on account of the circuit split this case has revived between the Fourth and Ninth Circuits on one hand and the Second Circuit on the other. 

The respondents and their amici will be filing in March.

You can read our other pieces on this important liquor retailer matter:

Ashley Brandt

Hi there! I’m happy you’re here. My name is Ashley Brandt and I’m an attorney in Chicago representing clients in the Food and Beverage, Advertising, Media, and Real Estate industries. A while back I kept getting calls and questions from industry professionals and attorneys looking for advice and information on a fun and unique area of law that I’m lucky enough to practice in. These calls represented a serious lack of, and need for, some answers, news, and information on the legal aspects of marketing and media. I've got this deep seeded belief that information should be readily available and that the greatest benefit from the information age is open access to knowledge... so ... this blog seemed like the best way to accomplish that. I enjoy being an attorney and it’s given me some amazing opportunities, wonderful experiences, and an appreciation and love for this work. I live in Chicago and work at an exceptional law firm, Goldstein & McClintock, with some truly brilliant people. Feel free to contact me at any time with any issues, comments, concerns… frankly, after reading this far, I hope you take the time to at least let me know what you think about the blog and how I can make it a better resource.

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