A liquor wholesale company filled a lawsuit on Tuesday to challenge Connecticut's liquor laws, which the company states "force customers to pay more."
The lawsuit by Total Wine & More comes in response to "its customers, who demand and deserve fair prices on wine and spirits," according to a statement by Total Wine & More.
Connecticut is the only state that wholesalers and retailers together set the minimum price consumers pay for wine and spirits.
“It’s time for Connecticut to finally enter the 21st century when it comes to the sale of wine and spirits. The loser in the current equation is the consumer,” Total Wine & More’s Vice President of Public Affairs Edward Cooper said in a statement on Tuesday.
The wholesale company said the lawsuit highlights "Connecticut’s mandatory minimum pricing scheme results in retail prices for wine and spirits that may be in excess of 25% higher than prices offered for identical products in surrounding states." The complaint also states "the price-fixing by wholesalers and retailers constitutes restraint of trade and a violation of the federal Sherman anti-trust act."
“The current pricing structure drives them to out-of-state outlets in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Striking down these laws and regulations allow consumers the freedom to pay lower prices for wine and spirits," Cooper said.
The governor's office released a statement on the lawsuit.
"There is no question - Connecticut consumers artificially pay more in our state for products that they can easily obtain for less in neighboring states. The laws are backwards. That's why Governor Malloy has supported changes to Connecticut's minimum bottle law to address this very issue almost every year he's been in office. He stands with consumers," the statement read.
The Connecticut Package Stores Association released a statement in which they said they are "aware" of the lawsuit and said the issue of minimum bottle pricing were discussed at the last five legislative sessions.
"The issue to change the bottle price has been resoundingly rejected by legislative leaders and individual legislators. The rejection of the Total Wine position is a primary objection to one company attempting to eliminate stores and dominate the marketplace as a predatory competitor as it has in most other states where it operates," the Connecticut Package Stores Association said in a statement on Tuesday.
To read the full complaint, click here.
Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.