Skip to Content
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 25E: Refusal to sell brand name alcoholic beverages to wholesalers as unfair trade practice; exception for good cause; discontinuance notice and procedure

Section 25E. It shall be an unfair trade practice and therefor unlawful for any manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer, importer or wholesaler of any alcoholic beverages, to refuse to sell, except for good cause shown, any item having a brand name to any licensed wholesaler to whom such manufacturer, winegrower, farmer-brewer, importer or wholesaler has made regular sales of such brand item during a period of six months preceding any refusal to sell.

Any manufacturer, importer or wholesaler shall forward a notice in writing to the wholesaler, to whom it has sold any brand item, prior to discontinuing sales to such wholesaler of such brand item and shall forward a copy of said notice to the commission. The notice of discontinuance of sale shall be furnished by the manufacturer, importer or wholesaler to the wholesaler being discontinued at least one hundred and twenty days before the effective date of such discontinuance. The notice shall state the specific grounds for such discontinuance. Either party may appeal to the commission for a hearing on the notice of discontinuance and the commission shall make a determination after hearing on the issue of good cause for discontinuance. Upon application by the wholesaler to the commission, the commission shall order the manufacturer, importer or wholesaler giving notice of refusal to sell to continue to make sales in the regular course to such wholesaler pending determination by the commission on the merits of said appeal. The commission shall after notice to all parties and hearing, make a determination on the issue of good cause and grant such relief as may be appropriate under the circumstances. Good cause as used herein shall be limited to the following conduct:

(a) disparagement of the product so as to impair the reputation of the brand owner or the brand name of any product,

(b) unfair preferment in sales effort for brand items of a competitor,

(c) failure to exercise best efforts in promoting the sale of any brand item,

(d) engaging in improper or proscribed trade practices, or

(e) failure to comply with the terms of sale agreed upon between supplier and wholesaler.