The Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has signaled a possible crackdown on “pay-to-play” in the beer industry by announcing yesterday a major settlement with the Craft Brewers Guild for illegally paying retail licensees money to stock their brands.
Craft Brewers Guild, a beer wholesaler in Massachusetts, had already admitted to state alcohol regulators that it had violated the states tied house laws. Faced with the possibility of having its federal license suspended by the TTB, Craft Brewers Guild voluntarily paid $750,000 to settle the case with the feds. It is the largest sum the US alcohol bureau has ever collected from a single company for trade practice violations.
Craft Brewers has already paid $2.6 million back in February to the state rather than have its license temporary revoked. That fine is currently being contesting in court by the CBG.