BevMax 2nd liquor store chain in one week to challenge Connecticut’s liquor pricing laws

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MERIDEN — BevMax, a Stamford-based retailer, has now joined Total Wine and More in saying it will openly sell liquor and wine below state mandated minimum prices and will advertise it’s doing so.

BevMax made the announcement Monday afternoon in response to the lawsuit Total Wine filed against Connecticut on the issue last week.

“Connecticut residents deserve fair market pricing on everything they buy, whether it be food, clothing or wine, liquor and beer,” stated Michael Berkoff, CEO of BevMax.  “We’re taking this action because we’re committed to providing the best quality products to our customers at the most competitive pricing.”

In their lawsuit, Total Wine argued Connecticut’s laws require liquor stores to sell products at a 25 percent higher cost than nearby states, driving customers to travel to neighboring New Hampshire or Massachusetts instead of spending their money in-state.

Connecticut’s current law sets a minimum price per bottle for liquor sales, meaning no store can sell liquor for less than it paid per bottle.

According to our media partners, The Hartford Courant, the State Department of Consumer Protection, who oversees and enforces the state’s liquor laws, is now investigating both Total Wine and More and BevMax.

Earlier this year, Gov. Dannell Malloy tried eliminated the state mandated minimum prices, but the proposal did not get past legislature.

Small business liquor store owners have long supported the current laws arguing it protects them against big box stores who would be able to offer big discounts on their products as they order in higher volume than so-called mom and pop stores.

BevMax operates 13 stores in both Connecticut and New York.  Total Wine is a national retailer with 150 stores in 21 different states.