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Missouri Alcohol Retailers no longer Tongue-Tied by Tied-House Restrictions on Advertising

Missouri tied-house law, which restricts dealings between suppliers, wholesalers and retailers, is currently in flux following a recent ruling by the US District Court for the Western District, which held that several of Missouri’s regulations pertaining to supplier advertising were unconstitutional.  This pivotal opinion—which has wide-ranging implications for alcohol advertising in the state—was appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on October 11, 2018 and has garnered widespread attention in the industry.  The case raises economic and practical issues for retailers and significant legal and policy issues for state regulators.

In June, 2018 the District Court struck down three types of restrictions on alcohol advertising: 1) a restriction forbidding media advertising of price discounts—including restrictions prohibiting retailers from offering discounts on the purchase of beer or wine and from outside advertising of discounts on alcohol; 2) a restriction forbidding retailers from advertising prices below cost; and 3) a statute

SWS/Kroger Category Management Program Toes the Line on “Tied House” Restrictions — TTB Ruling Raises as Many Questions as it Answers

February 24, 2016

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On February 11, the TTB released ruling 2016-1 in response to beverage alcohol industry players and trade groups questioning an initiative by Kroger and Southern Wine & Spirits, which would reportedly require payment by wholesalers to merchandisers selected by Kroger to direct the placement of brands and bottles on Kroger shelves across the country. Many in the industry saw this initiative as a possible violation of the “Tied House” rules designed to prevent unfair competitive practices across the industry’s three tiers (27 U.S.C. § 205). TTB’s ruling seeks to clarify what is and what is not permissible in terms of shelf plans and shelf schematics, but the ruling comes with a twist that may very well shake up established category management practices.

The ruling states that “[f]urnishing retailers with a shelf plan or shelf schematic… is not an inducement” in violation of the Tied House rules.   This is nothing new

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