Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is again asking the state’s legislators to put an end to a long-standing regulation that sets a minimum price at which retailers can offer wine and liquor for sale. The state’s law, enacted in 1981, currently prohibits sales below a minimum price determined by the wholesale cost, a figure set by wholesalers.

The Governor has argued that Connecticut is the only state in the county with such a law, and offered comparisons of the same alcoholic beverage for sale in his home state and in Massachusetts, showing Connecticut’s prices are markedly higher.  The governor also pointed to a report that a Massachusetts store chain used the price discrepancy in advertising to draw Connecticut residents to their locations across the border. Opponents of the legislation, such as the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Connecticut, a trade association, say that the differences in pricing are more the result of taxes and policies that allow large retailers to purchase in bulk at a discounted price.

The legislation, Senate Bill 789, is currently pending before the State’s legislators. A similar bill brought by Governor Malloy was defeated last year.  Connecticut legislators are also considering a bill to allow out-of-state retailers to ship directly to consumers in the state.  Currently, Connecticut residents are allowed to purchase wine directly from out-of-state wineries, but the bill’s proponents are hoping to expand that freedom to retailers as well. If this latter bill passes, the Governor’s proposal would seem more likely to see success this time around.


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