The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control has socked two of New Jersey’s largest liquor wholesalers — Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates — with fines of $4 million apiece for engaged in discriminatory trade practices that unfairly favored their largest retail customers. In addition, 20 retailers statewide will pay a total of $2.3 million for their part in the unlawful scheme.
ABC’s two-year investigation found that the wholesalers, which account for approximately 70% of all wine and 80% of all spirits sold at wholesale in the state — unfairly favored 20 of New Jersey’s largest wine and spirits retailers and put smaller retailers at a competitive disadvantage. The two wholesalers, which were hit by record fines, manipulated the retailer incentive program (RIP), granting credit extensions and interest-free loans, and engaging in other discriminatory practices.
“Simply put, Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates rigged the market in favor of a handpicked group of powerful retailers, leaving smaller businesses struggling to compete,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, adding, “This settlement sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this manipulative and anticompetitive behavior.”