Massachusetts Fine Wines & Spirits, LLC v. Alcoholic Beverages Control CommissionAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court held that because Total Wine & More sold liquor and wine purchased through invoices sales in the record at prices below the net price reflected in those invoices the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission was justified in finding that Total Wine sold the liquor or wine at a price less than invoiced cost in violation of 204 Code Mass Regs. 2.04(1).
After the Commission found Total Wine in violation of section 2.04(1) Total Wine brought this action contending that it was not in violation of the regulation because, after accounting for the cumulative quality discounts (CQDs) that it obtained from its bulk purchases of these brands of liquor and wine - which were credited in subsequent invoices - its ultimate net cost per bottle was below its sales price to consumers. The superior court allowed Total Wine's motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded to enter judgment in favor of the Commission, holding that the plain language of section 2.04(1) requires that the net cost of liquor or wine sold to a licensed retailer, including any credits applied to that sale from CQDs, be reflected in the invoice for that particular sale; and (2) the Commission's interpretation of the regulation was reasonable.