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Connecticut Retailers Agree To Obey Minimum Pricing Law

September 1, 2016

Total Wine & More and BevMax have agreed to conform to Connecticut’s minimum pricing rules for wine and spirits, just days after announcing they would openly defy the law, which they say artificially forces higher prices on to consumers.

“This morning, we informed the Department of Consumer Protection that our stores will return to minimum bottle pricing,” BevMax CEO Michael Berkoff said in a statement. The state’s Department of Consumer Protection had launched an investigation into the retailers’ move to flout the minimum pricing rules in recent days.

The Hartford Courant reported that Total, which recently filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s minimum pricing regime, has accepted a $37,500 fine for its actions and will now raise prices to the state-mandated minimum.

BevMax’s Berkoff added that he believes Total Wine’s court challenge will ultimately be successful, and vindicate the retailers’ aggressive stance on the issue. “We firmly believe that the pending court case will find that Connecticut’s minimum bottle law violates United States antitrust laws and it will then allow us to compete in the market by offering low prices to our customers,” Berkoff stated. —Daniel Marsteller

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