Costco wins; Now what?

Wholesaler's court victory in Washington has implications for rest of country

Apr 24, 2006 - Costco Wholesale won a legal victory in Washington that has implications for beer and wine distribution, and prices across the country.


Unless overturned, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruling means Washington state can no longer:

- Force producers and distributors to each mark up their products by 10%.
- Ban high-volume discounts to retailers on beer and wine.
- Ban credit sales to retailers.
- Ban central warehousing of beer and wine by retailers.
- Require that beer and wine distributors and producers post and hold prices for a month.
- Require wholesalers to charge uniform prices to all retailers.
- Require wholesalers to charge the same "delivered" price to all retailers, no matter what the actual delivery cost.

The case has drawn the attention of producers and wholesalers in the state and throughout the nation, who could be affected if the law sets a precedent to be used in other states.

The ruling leaves unclear how an overhauled distribution system would work.

That is up to the Washington legislature, to whom the judge is sending her decision in a month.

Published : Apr 24, 2006