SLA Announces $100,000 Fine, Deferred Suspension for Wholesaler

At the July 31, 2013 Board meeting, the State Liquor Authority fined a New York State liquor and wine wholesaler, Winebow Inc., $100,000 and imposed a 30 day deferred suspension. Today’s action stems from a solicitor for Winebow selling 133 cases of wine to a select retailer at a discount of nearly 50%, without offering the product to other retailers. The deeply discounted price was not posted as a limited availability item with the SLA as mandated by the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) law, thereby creating an uneven playing field. The SLA notes that Winebow was cooperative in the investigation, and is actively working with the agency’s Wholesale Bureau to create policies related to price posting and limited availability allocations.

The ABC law requires that wholesalers of wine and spirits post their prices monthly with the SLA in order to ensure a level playing field where all licensed retailers are able to purchase products from wholesalers at the same prices. These provisions were enacted to create transparency and protect New York consumers and businesses from anti-competitive market behavior. This investigation was conducted by Beverage Control Investigator Ethan Manning, Special Counsel Dennis Saville, Associate General Counsel Margarita Marsico, Senior Attorney Paul Karamanol and legal intern Evan Van Regenmorter.

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