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General Laws

Section 25C. (a) No brand of alcoholic beverages shall be sold within the commonwealth to a wholesaler or retailer, and no manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer or wholesaler shall sell, offer for sale, solicit any order for, or advertise, any alcoholic beverages, the container of which bears a label stating the brand or the name of the owner or producer, unless a schedule of minimum consumer prices for each such brand of alcoholic beverages shall first have been filed with the commission and is then in effect.

(b) Each of the schedules hereinafter referred to shall be in writing, duly verified, and filed in the number of copies and form as required by the commission, and shall contain, with respect to each item, the exact brand or trade name, capacity of package, nature of contents, age and proof where stated on the label, the percentage and type of spirits where stated on the label, the minimum consumer resale price of a bottle and of a case, but not a multiple of a bottle price or a case price or a fraction of a case price, which prices shall be uniform throughout the commonwealth.

(c) Such schedule may be filed by (1) the manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer, importer or wholesaler who owns such brand if licensed by the commission, or (2) any wholesaler, importer or manufacturer licensed by the commission, with the approval of the commission.

(d) The first schedule shall be filed on or before a date to be fixed by the commission, and the prices therein shall become effective on a date to be fixed by the commission and shall remain in effect for a period, not exceeding four months, to be fixed by the commission. Subsequent schedules shall be filed at the times and for the periods hereinafter set forth and shall be effective during the periods hereinafter set forth:—

FILING DATES.   EFFECTIVE DATES.
July 1-10   September 1-October 31
September 1-10   November 1-December 31
November 1-10   January 1-February 28
January 1-10   March 1-April 30
March 1-10   May 1-June 30
May 1-10   July 1-August 31

provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall require any manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer or wholesaler to file a schedule of minimum consumer resale prices for any brand of alcoholic beverages offered for sale or sold (1) to a retailer under a brand which is owned exclusively by such retailer and sold within the commonwealth exclusively by such retailer; (2) to a church, synagogue or religious organization under a brand which is owned exclusively by such manufacturer, farmer-brewer, winegrower, or wholesaler, if authorized to sell wine or malt beverages to such persons and such wine or malt beverages are sold exclusively to such persons; (3) to on-premises retailers under a brand which is owned exclusively by such manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer or wholesaler and is sold by such manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer or wholesaler exclusively to such retailers for consumption on the premises.

No such filing, however, shall take effect unless within thirty days thereafter the commission shall approve such prices as not being excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory; provided, however, that such approval shall not be deemed a rule or regulation within the meaning of section twenty-four or section seventy-one, nor shall such approval be subject to the provisions of chapter thirty A.

(e) Within ten days after the filing of each such schedule the commission shall make it or a composite thereof available for inspection by licensees. All such schedules so filed shall be subject to public inspection from the time that they are required to be made available for inspection by licensees. Each manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer and wholesaler shall retain in his licensed premises a copy of his filed schedules, and shall, as soon as practicable after the tenth day of the month in which such schedules are filed, compile, publish and mail to each retailer authorized to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption, a list, to be designated “minimum consumer resale price list”. Such list, as then in effect, shall be conspicuously displayed within the interior of the licensed premises where sales are made and where they can be readily inspected by consumers.

(f) No licensee authorized to sell alcoholic beverages at retail for off-premises consumption shall sell, offer to sell, solicit an order for, or advertise, any alcoholic beverages at a price less than the minimum consumer resale price then in effect, unless written permission of the commission is granted for good cause shown and for reasons not inconsistent with the purposes of this section and under such terms and conditions as the commission deems necessary.

(g) The commission is hereby authorized to make rules which are necessary (1) to prevent circumvention of the provisions of this section by the offering or giving of any rebate, allowance, free goods, discount or any other thing or service of value; (2) to permit the withdrawal of, an addition to, a deletion from, or an amendment of any schedule containing the minimum consumer retail price or a modification of prices therein, when not inconsistent with the purposes of this section, whenever necessary to avoid practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships to any licensee affected by this section or because of acts or circumstances beyond the control of such licensee, and under such terms and conditions as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this section; (3) to permit the sale at a price less than the minimum consumer resale price of alcoholic beverages which are damaged or deteriorated in quality, or the closeout of a brand for the purpose of discontinuing its sale, under such terms and conditions as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this section; (4) to permit the sale by a retailer of a brand of alcoholic beverages for which a schedule of minimum consumer resale prices has not been and cannot be filed, whenever necessary to avoid practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships to any licensee affected by this section or because of acts or circumstances beyond the control of such licensee, and under such terms and conditions as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.

All schedules filed pursuant to this section shall be subject to public inspection from the time that they are required to be made available for inspection by licensees, and shall not be considered confidential. For the violation of any provision of this section or any rule or regulation duly promulgated under this section, the commission may suspend a license as follows:—for a first offence, not exceeding six days suspension of license; for a second offence, not exceeding fifteen days suspension of license; and for each subsequent offence, thirty days suspension of license. Each manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer and wholesaler shall retain in his licensed premises for inspection by licensees a copy of his filed schedules as then in effect. The commission may make such rules and regulations as shall be appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.

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