Craft Beer Guild, LLC v. Alcoholic Beverages Control CommissionAnnotate this Case
In this review of two decisions of the alcoholic beverages control commission (commission) that resulted in the issuance of penalties against Craft Beer Guild, LLC (Craft) and Rebel Restaurants, Inc. (Rebel), the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgments of the superior courts affirming the commission’s penalties, holding that the commission properly determined that Craft violated both Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 138, 25A(a) and 204 Code Mass. Regs. 2.08 but that the terms of the regulation did not apply to Rebel’s conduct.
After evidentiary hearings, the commission determined (1) Craft, a licensed wholesaler of craft beers, had paid monetary rebates in differing amounts on craft beer purchases to certain licensed retailers in violation of the statute; and (2) both Craft and Rebel violated the regulation, which prohibited a particular scheme of commercial bribery. The superior courts affirmed the commission’s penalties. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed as to Craft but reversed as to Rebel, holding (1) Craft violated both the statute and the regulation, and the regulation remained valid; but (2) the terms of the regulation did not apply to Rebel’s conduct in accepting money derived from kickbacks paid by Craft.