Costco Drops Three-Tier Court Challenge

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Brew Blog

“New chapter for legislative reform” opened.

Costco Wholesale Corp.’s legal challenge of some of Washington state’s alcohol beverage trade laws — the most high-profile in an array of three-tier system cases — appears to be over.

Costco has decided to not appeal to the Supreme Court an appeals court ruling that largely voided an earlier district court victory.

Costco informed the Washington attorney general’s office of its decision in a letter, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights, which first reported the story.

Costco listed a variety of reasons for why it chose not to pursue an appeal, BMI reported. They include the ending of post-and-hold and a ban on direct shipments. Also, Costco says the lawsuit led the state to investigate the three-tier system and it “’repudiated key aspects’ of the ‘regulatory regime.’”

Costco also sees other avenues for change. From BMI:

Lastly, “new chapter for legislative reform” opened with state task force that “will be a catalyst for substantial change.” In shot at Appeals Ct judge, Costco atty wrote his decision “affirmed the power of state government to treat its citizens in violation of federal law.” State Task Force “should conclude,” sez Costco, “that such power should not be exercised without good cause, and certainly not to serve the financial interests of the private wholesalers.” Finally, letter expressed the “hope” that state liquor control board will see “wisdom of changes” that will shift system “away from unnecessary and counterproductive role” that protects some players, and move it to prevention of “genuine alcohol abuse and misuse.”

A copy of the letter can be seen here.

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