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DISCUS, Wine Institute Weigh In On TTB’s Kroger-SWS Ruling

February 16, 2016

The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) and the Wine Institute have issued a statement advising their members against participating in retailer Kroger’s initiative to allow distributor Southern Wine & Spirits to set its shelf display plans and accept voluntary payment from suppliers to help pay for it.

DISCUS and the Wine Institute jointly stated that the TTB’s ruling last week on the Kroger-SWS plan, “strongly suggests that participating in the Kroger program would put participating suppliers at risk of violating their federal permits required to conduct business.”

The industry groups also noted that the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control stated in December that the Kroger program would violate the state’s tied house law and rules. As a result, they summed up, “We 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.” With DISCUS and the Wine Institute urging their members to avoid the program, it seems likely that Kroger and Southern will have to make significant changes to their proposed plan or else abandon it entirely.

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