Total Wine & More Sues Connecticut over Minimum Pricing Rules

By Turmelle, Luther | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), August 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

Total Wine & More Sues Connecticut over Minimum Pricing Rules


Turmelle, Luther, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


A Maryland-based wine and beer superstore chain is challenging Connecticut's liquor laws and regulation in federal court.

Total Wine & More filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on Tuesday, claiming that the state's minimum pricing laws for wine and spirits are anti-competitive, and violate the federal Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

The 35-year-old law prohibits wine and spirits from being sold at below cost, with just a few small exceptions. One such exception includes allowing retailers to sell one type of alcoholic item per month below the otherwise minimum price, but only up to a 10 percent discount.

Total Wine & More has four Connecticut locations: Milford, Norwalk, West Hartford and Manchester,

Ed Cooper, Total Wine & More's vice president of public affairs and community relations, said the company had hoped the issue would be addressed by the Connecticut General Assembly over the last five sessions. But despite Gov. Dannel Malloy backing changes to Connecticut's liquor regulations, lawmakers refused to end minimum pricing rules.

"This is on behalf of our customers who had enough of paying more than they should for wine and spirits," Cooper said, speaking at the chain's West Hartford store at the Corbins Corner Shopping Center. "We've been in this state for a number of years now and we are just exercising the rights provided to us under the Constitution. We want to put an end to this price fixing scheme. …

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