Independent wine, beer and spirits retailer Total Wine & More has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut challenging what it calls the state’s “antiquated laws and regulations” that require wholesalers and retailers to set a minimum price consumers pay for wine and spirits.
According to the suit filed Aug. 23 by the Hartford-based company, which operates a location in Norwalk, Connecticut’s mandatory minimum pricing statute results in retail prices for wine and spirits that “may be in excess of 25 percent higher than prices offered for identical products in surrounding states.” Total Wine further stated that “The price-fixing by wholesalers and retailers constitutes restraint of trade and a violation of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.”
“It’s time for Connecticut to finally enter the 21st century when it comes to the sale of wine and spirits,” said Total Wine Vice President, Public Affairs Edward Cooper. “The loser in the current equation is the consumer. The current pricing structure drives them to out-of-state outlets in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Striking down these laws and regulations allow consumers the freedom to pay lower prices for wine and spirits.”
The company said that by year’s end it will operate 150 superstores in 21 states, with plans for further expansion.