Mass. Distributor Charged in Pay-to-Play Investigation
On Aril 29, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) charged Everett-based distributor Craft Beer Guild LLC with violating two rules preventing unfair practices that limit consumer choices, like offering inducements to favor some beer brands over others.
The pay-to-play investigation began last October and gained attention in the beer community when Dann Paquette of Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project accused Boston bars of engaging in pay-to-play practices. Craft Beer Guild distributes Pretty Things, along with more than 200 other brands.
“The alleged wrongdoing in this case is serious,” says state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. “As the commission examines this matter, we’ll continue the work to ensure license holders across the state are acting in a proper manner.”
The nonprofit Massachusetts Brewers Guild supports the investigation. “We believe that ultimately what beer is sold in Massachusetts should be left up to the drinkers and not subject to an uneven playing field at retail,” says executive director Lindsay Kick. “The brewers who make up our guild, and craft beer drinkers alike, benefit from variety.” The hearing will be held on June 23. ■