The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) said Wednesday it settled a series of allegations against Warsteiner Importers Agency, involving violations of the three-tier system for $900,000—the largest such offer in the bureau’s history.
The settlement, filed Monday, covers the period from January 2015 to April 2018 during which the eponymous beer importer allegedly engaged in Tied House, Commercial Bribery and Exclusive Outlet violations.
Tied House, an English term, refers to a pub or bar that must buy at least some of its beer from one particular company. Tied-house restrictions keep the three-tier system in place. Exclusive Outlet violations translate into a company. Exclusive Outlet means that a company wants a retailer or bar to sell only its products.
At the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention in Las Vegas (WSWA) where some 1,500 members of the industry gathered, some were surprised by the size of the settlement.
The WSWA, which takes credit for securing tax breaks for its members, also supported securing $5 million in additional funding for the TTB specifically for increasing trade practice enforcement.