According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), it is conducting a joint investigation with agents from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) into “pay to play” activities in Miami. “Pay to play” is also known as a “slotting fee.” A “slotting fee” is impermissible and involves, for instance, an alcohol beverage supplier giving a thing of value to a retailer in exchange for shelf, menu or display space.
The TTB press release noted, “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.”
It is unclear whether the investigation is into off-premise or on-premise activities, or both, or even which brands or wholesalers are involved. Stay tuned.