New York SLA Proposed Advisory for “Limited Availability” Wines
No licensee shall refuse to sell any brand of liquor or wine to any licensee authorized to purchase such brand of liquor or wine from such licensee at the price listed in the schedule of prices … provided the purchaser pays cash therefore….
There is some flexibility for items with limited availability. ABC §101-b(4-a)(d) states, “For good cause shown to the satisfaction of the authority, permission may be granted for the filing of schedules limiting the distribution or resale of a brand to retailers.“
The proposed advisory provides additional details on what constitutes a limited availability wine and how a distributor can allocate those wines while still complying with New York ABC laws. The advisory applies to wines which the manufacturer, importer or wholesaler “has reason to believe market demand exceeds or will soon exceed available inventory” as well as wines for which those entities has price posted for subsequent vintages (i.e., older vintages of wines the distributor previously sold and price posted in New York). It also applies to wine that the distributor “dos not intend to purchase or cannot purchase further inventory for a period of at least one year,” “seasonal item[s],” discontinued items, and wines from suppliers with whom the supplier has ended its relationship.
If a wine falls into these categories, the manufacturer can notify the NYSLA that those wines are “limited availability,” and describe how they intend to allocate those wines. The advisory also specifies acceptable means of allocating limited availability wines. For example, distributors will be able to favor on-premise accounts in allocating limited availability wines; take into account past sales; and also favor retailers identified in “respected third party sources” such as the Michelin Guide, Zagat Guide, or Wine Spectator’s restaurant wine list award.
The NYSLA will consider the proposed advisory on July 17, 2013, and public comments are welcome. If approved, the revised guidelines will go into effect in September of this year.
For a copy of those guidelines as well as additional information on where to send public comments, please go to: http://www.sla.ny.gov/proposed-limited-availability-advisory
For more information or assistance on alcohol beverage law / wine law, contact John Trinidad ([email protected]).