In a proactive effort to collaborate with alcohol industry members, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Bureau of Law Enforcement hosted a trade practice summit in Charlottesville Tuesday to specifically address issues associated with the commonwealth’s three-tier system and tied-house laws. The three-tier system and the tied-house laws that support it are unique to the alcohol industry and were intended to keep a separation between alcohol manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to prevent unfair competition and public safety problems that were present in many communities prior to Prohibition.
More than 75 representatives from state and national alcohol manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers attended the event, which was held at Piedmont Virginia Community College. The summit consisted of presentations by industry experts including Paul Pisano, senior vice president, industry affairs and general counsel of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, former Oregon Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Pam Erickson and Virginia ABC Chief Operating Officer Travis Hill, followed by scenario workshops to address varying perspectives on trade practice regulation.
“As alcohol industry regulators, Virginia ABC recognizes education is a key long-term strategy in fostering compliance,” said ABC Chief Operating Officer Travis Hill. “Our Bureau of Law Enforcement created the trade practices summit as a forum for industry members to develop a better understanding of Virginia’s three-tier system – its history, societal value, laws and regulations – and to address questions and concerns on how the laws are enforced.”
Throughout the day, emphasis was placed on promoting fair and balanced trade practices within the alcohol marketplace. On the national stage, several states including Massachusetts and Arizona have recently placed heavy fines on distributors who were violating fair trade practices by offering illegal incentives to carry one product over another.
Six prominent industry groups partnered with Virginia ABC to organize the trade practice summit, including the Craft Brewers Guild; Virginia Beer Wholesalers; Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association; Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association; Virginia Wine Wholesalers Association; and the Virginia Wineries Association.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.8 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 359 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 17,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now marking its 83rd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
Virginia ABC Hosts Alcohol Industry Trade Summit to Encourage Fair Practice