WASHINGTON, D.C., 07/10/2023 – Last Friday, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) submitted comment in response to the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB’s) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR): Consideration of Updates to Trade Practice Regulations, dated November 9, 2022.
“We have 90 years of successful regulation in the beverage-alcohol marketplace. Our comment encourages TTB to update their regulations to reinforce the success of the current body of regulations while also addressing the constant evolution of the industry,” said WSWA President and CEO Francis Creighton.
WSWA’s comment encourages TTB to look at opportunities to address the digital marketplace by creating regulations that embody the successful principles governing the physical “brick and mortar” landscape. Critically, WSWA believes any such regulations should avoid the creation of carve-outs from a system that, at its core, is about maintaining a level playing field.
WSWA’s suggestions for modernizing existing trade practice regulations include:
- Ensuring that new regulations for the digital marketplace include a “translation” of permitted or prohibited conduct in the physical marketplace;
- Defining “slotting fees” more specifically, especially in regard to the digital marketplace;
- Retaining the existing provisions governing industry member interests in a retailer;
- Establishing a mechanism to determine when trade practice regulations should apply to industry member conduct with unlicensed third-party online platforms that facilitate the sale of alcoholic beverages;
- Creating parallel regulations for the digital space that correlate to the existing subpart D exceptions for the physical market;
- Creating a monetary cap on the materials an industry member can provide to a retailer while taking into account existing state-level requirements; and
- Creating trade practice regulations to cover industry member agreements with third-party entities where the third party controls a retailer.
An executive summary of WSWA’s comments can be found HERE.
WSWA’s full response to the TTB can be found HERE.