DISCUS and Kroger Tied House Law Challenge

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and Wine Institute issued a joint statement in response to the Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) letter to the organizations regarding Krogers’ proposed “Planogram Center of Excellence” that would be managed by Southern Wine & Spirits. At issue is whether the Kroger program violates the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and TTB regulations.

The Kroger Company is one of the world’s largest grocery retailers and second-largest general retailer behind Walmart. The Kroger store formats that include grocery and multi-department stores, discount, convenience stores, jewelry stores and liquor stores.

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The Distilled Spirits Council stated in their release, “The Distilled Spirits Council and Wine Institute appreciate TTB’s response to our inquiry which, in combination with its separate ruling, strongly suggests that participating in the Kroger program would put participating suppliers at risk of violating their federal permits required to conduct business.”

A copy of the TTB’s letter in response to the matter can be found here.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control stated in December 2015, that the Kroger program would violate the state’s tied house law and rules. Kroger’s headquarters is in Cincinnati, OH.

A copy of the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Divisision of Liquor Control letter in this matter can be found here.

“Given TTB’s response, along with the statement of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, we (DISCUS) believe that participating in the Kroger program is ill-advised because it may put a supplier’s basic permit to do business in the United States at risk.”

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What is a “Tied House“?

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