Connecticut's Liquor Pricing Scheme Is a Bad Law That Just Won't Die

Connecticut's liquor pricing scheme allows distributors and producers to work together to establish a minimum price for booze. As Allie Howell reports in an excellent article for Reason.com, the result is more expensive libations for residents of the Nutmeg State:

"Shoppers in Connecticut pay the price of paternalism every time they frequent a local liquor store. Prices are 24 percent higher than in neighboring states or up to $8 more a bottle, thanks to a law that has its roots in prohibition.

Unlike some other states that prevent liquor retailers from selling below a product's cost, Connecticut instead allows wholesalers and manufacturers to post a minimum per bottle and per case price. Once prices are posted to the Department of Consumer Protections, prices can be amended to match a competitior's before a price is finalized for the next month. Retailers then add their shipping and delivery costs to the per-bottle price and cannot sell below this cost. Wholesalers must sell at the same price to all retailers.

Despite efforts from liquor giant Total Wine and Company and the free-market Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, the pricing cartel continues. Most recently, Total Wine's antitrust lawsuit, which accuses the state of price-fixing, was dismissed by a federal judge earlier this month. Chief United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut Janet C. Hall decided that the complex state regulations do not violate federal antitrust laws.

The archaic pricing system has made business rather cozy for the state's small liquor stores, which never have to worry about competitor's prices..."

Read the rest of the article here: http://reason.com/blog/2017/06/27/connecticuts-outdated-liquor-pricing-law

DrinksReform.org previously covered the federal antitrust lawsuit mentioned in the article here: http://www.drinksreform.org/blog-1/2017/6/7/federal-court-dismisses-anti-trust-challenge-to-connecticuts-liquor-pricing-law