Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TTB Newsletter May 11, 2011 Special Edition

TTB Accepts $1.9 Million to Settle Violations of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act

Dear FWWS Member,

When the subject of the state's tied house restrictions on wine trade are debated, opponents to reform of these prohibition era laws often object by citing the potentially negative trade practices that could result in their absence. During the recent debate over Initiative 1100, which would have done away with these restrictions at the state level, opponents raised the specter of all sorts of disastrous results, including retailers extorting gifts from wineries and the infamous "slotting fees," or charging of rent for shelf space. FWWS pointed out at the time that all these undesirable trade practices would remain illegal under federal law even if the much broader state restrictions were eliminated.

The linked recent TTB circular shows not only that we were correct in our assessment of federal law, but further that these laws have teeth and that the federal government is serious about enforcing them.

As we move the debate forward and attempt to make progress in tied house reform through legislation such as our voluntary craft winery proposal, we hope that this information will give you confidence in defending the position that, despite the claims of those who favor the status quo, the sky will not fall if Washington State’s over-broad and unduly restrictive tied house laws are eliminated in favor of the much more fair federal tied house rules.

The FWWS Board