|April 2, 2019
For Immediate Release
|Office of Congressional and Public Affairs
TTB Press Release
TTB Accepts $2.5 Million Offer in Compromise for Trade Practice Violations
Washington, D.C. — TTB has accepted a $2.5 million offer in compromise from Heineken USA Incorporated (Heineken) for alleged violations of the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act. This investigation initially developed out of the joint operation conducted with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT), Miami District Office, and subsequently expanded to cover alleged unlawful activities in Washington State and New York City. TTB thanks the Florida ABT, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, and the New York State Liquor Authority for partnering with us on this investigation.
Specifically, TTB alleges that Heineken provided some retailers with BrewLock draft systems at no charge and reimbursed other retailers for the cost of purchasing BrewLock draft systems. Reimbursements were disguised as unrelated credit card charges (also known as swipes.) Because BrewLock is a patented draft system developed by or for Heineken that only works with specially-designed kegs used by Heineken, TTB alleges that the system both obligated and induced the retailers to exclusively purchase Heineken products. TTB alleges that Heineken made slotting fee payments to retailers and disguised those unlawful payments as payments for permissible activities (such as consumer sampling) that never actually occurred. TTB also alleges that Heineken used third parties to pay for additional slotting fees to retailers.
TTB remains committed to putting an end to anti-competitive practices that hurt law-abiding businesses and prevent consumers from enjoying a wide selection of products.