TTB accepted an offer in compromise from Crown Imports in the amount of $420,000. TTB alleges that Crown violated 27 USC 205(b) by entering into “agreements or understandings with retailers, directly or indirectly through (1) an ostensibly independent third-party, or (2) an affiliate of the retailer.” In particular, Crown allegedly paid a third-party resulting in a retailer receiving payment for advertising, display, and distribution services. TTB alleges that the payments, in part, secured tap handles for Crown malt beverages and amount to a slotting allowance.  

According to TTB, Modus Operandi Cellars, LLC, a bonded winery in St. Helena, California, was served a one day suspension of its basic permit.  In its press release, TTB said, “over the course of almost two years, Modus Operandi Cellars, LLC, engaged in consignment sales of wine to wholesalers who were not obligated to pay for the wine until after it had been sold to retailers.  Consignment sales arrangements, like other unlawful trade practices, are used to gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding industry members and ultimately limit consumer choice.”