The Fall 2014 issue of Artisan Spirit introduced readers to the unusual and rather complicated legal concepts arising from the “tied-house” laws. It covered the general concepts of:
a) separating the retail tier from the upper tiers of the industry
b) federal and state regulation in this area
c) the federal scheme prohibiting “inducements” leading to “exclusion”
d) cross-tier ownership prohibitions
e) restrictions on upper-tier assistance to retailers
This new article, published in the Spring 2015 issue of Artisan Spirit, takes readers a little deeper into the subject of tied-house laws by pondering the policy behind them and examining some hot topics on what constitutes prohibited “thing of value” assistance to retailers. But remember that tied-house laws exist on the federal and state level, and that each state has the authority to enact its own particular variations on the tied-house concept. While a few states simply adopt federal law, most have enacted their own statutes and regulations, leading to substantial variations between the laws of different states. As a result, no article could possibly capture all the complexities involved, and distillers should seek their own counsel before making a particular investment or running a particular marketing program.