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:
- Here is the post about the amazing dissent from the denial of the alcohol retailers’ petition for an en banc review in the Second Circuit.
- Here is the post we had back in December about the liquor store’s initial cert petition.
- Liquor lawyers and you can follow the Supreme Court’s docket for Connecticut Fine Wine and Spirits LLC dba Total Wine & More v. Connecticut here.