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, it conducted a joint operation with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (“ILCC”) regarding alleged “pay to play” or “slotting fee” activities. Per the TTB announcement, “this is the second large-scale trade practice enforcement joint operation that TTB has conducted this year [the other being in Miami] as part of our ongoing effort to secure a level playing field nationwide for law-abiding businesses.”