February 21, 2017

Malloy, again, fights to eliminate alcohol minimum pricing laws

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is proposing an update to state law that would prevent retailers from selling liquor at higher prices set by liquor wholesalers.

The 1981 law requires retailers to sell liquor products at a minimum price above wholesale, a cost determined by the wholesale liquor industry. This means that – unlike everywhere else in the nation – these retailers cannot set the prices of the products that they put on the shelves in their own stores, Malloy said.

Malloy would modify the law to allow small business owners to sell wine and liquor using a "more reasonable" criteria: actual cost paid. This is the standard used in each of Connecticut's neighboring states and nearly everywhere else throughout the country, he said.

"Let the businesses determine the prices for these products, not the government," Malloy said.

The legislation, Senate Bill 789, has been referred to the legislature's General Law Committee for consideration.

In August, the retailer Total Wine & More sued Connecticut in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut over the state's mandatory minimum pricing laws, alleging restraint of trade and federal antitrust violations. The case is still pending.

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