The burgeoning battle over Connecticut’s law mandating minimum pricing for alcoholic beverages has been joined by another retailer, as Stamford-based BevMax has announced it is beginning to sell certain products in its stores at cost.
“Connecticut residents deserve fair market pricing on everything they buy, whether it be food, clothing or wine, liquor and beer,” said BevMax CEO Michael Berkoff. “We’re taking this action because we’re committed to providing the best quality products to our customers at the most competitive pricing.”
The company’s move comes in the wake of Total Wine & More’s announcement last week that it had filed suit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut contesting the law, designed to protect independent alcohol retailers from larger chains who buy and sell their inventory in bulk and thus can undercut the independents’ prices. Total Wine’s suit maintains that the law constitutes restraint of trade and is a violation of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.
The Department of Consumer Protection is investigating Total Wine’s pricing methods in the wake of the suit and its running newspaper ads touting prices below the minimum. The Connecticut Liquor Control Division said it is also investigating both chains.
Total Wine operates a store in Norwalk, while BevMax has two outlets each in Stamford and Bridgeport, as well as stores in Norwalk and Danbury.