TTB launches ‘pay to play’ investigation in Miami

21st July, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has increased its efforts to crack down on so-called ‘pay to play’ schemes with the launch of an investigation in Miami.

‘Pay to play’ refers to the practice of manufacturers paying a fee or offering other incentives to retailers and bars in exchange for stocking their products. Such action is illegal in the US, but the law is widely flouted.

This week, the TTB conducted a joint operation with special agents from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT), Miami District Office, to target alleged ‘pay to play’ schemes in the greater Miami area.

The action is said to be the largest trade practice enforcement operation that TTB has initiated to date.

“’Pay to play’, also known as ‘slotting fees’, is an unlawful trade practice that hurts law-abiding industry members and limits consumer choice,” the TTB said in a statement.

“TTB takes its responsibility to actively enforce a level playing field very seriously and appreciates this opportunity to work together with our law enforcement partners in Florida to ensure that existing industry members and smaller businesses just entering the marketplace can compete based on customer service and consumer preference rather than on their ability to buy shelf space.”

Last year, The Spirits Business explored the issue of retros and buybacks in UK bars.

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