Massachusetts has a complex body of statutes, regulations, and case law governing the production, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages. The laws that govern the relationship between manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages—known as the "three-tier system," a construct developed during Prohibition—are often the subject of lawsuits and disputes. In the highly-regulated alcoholic beverages industry, it is vital that businesses in each "tier" understand their rights and obligations with respect to others in the distribution chain. This is particularly so in Massachusetts, where wholesaler franchise protections limit the ability of suppliers to terminate their wholesaler relationships.
Join us as our experienced panel discusses the current state of the three-tier system in Massachusetts, including the legally required separations between manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers. Our faculty discuss both historical and modern-day aspects of Massachusetts alcoholic beverage sales and distribution law, including: the format of the three-tier system, the scope of franchise protections afforded to Massachusetts wholesalers and how those protections have recently evolved, and the MA Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission's recent decisions on pay-to-play issues and unlawful inducements. The panelists also discuss industry trends and common business concerns along with best practices for companies doing business in Massachusetts to avoid running afoul of Massachusetts laws. This new program concludes with a question and answer session with our panelists, who collectively have experience representing manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.