House Bill No. 310
Introduced By pavlovich, quilici, lynch, cocchiarella, shea, menahan
A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act clarifying that certain actions of brewers or beer importers constitute establishing or maintaining the price for resale of their products by wholesale beer distributors; amending section
16-3-221, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 16-3-221, MCA, is amended to read:
"16-3-221. Illegal acts by brewers or beer importers. It is unlawful for any brewer or beer importer or any officer, agent, or representative of any brewer or beer importer to:
(1) coerce, attempt to coerce, or persuade any person licensed to sell beer at wholesale to enter into any agreement or to take any action that would violate or tend to violate any of the laws of this state or any rules promulgated by the department;
(2) sell its products in the state without a written contract, which conforms to the provisions of 16-3-221 through 16-3-226, with each appointed licensed wholesale distributor;
(3) designate or allow more than one wholesale distributor to sell or distribute a specific brand of the brewer's or beer importer's products to retail licensees in the same area, provided that nothing in this part prohibits the brewer or beer importer from designating more than one wholesale distributor to sell or distribute different brands of the same manufacturer to retail licensees in the same area;
(4) fix or maintain the price at which a wholesale distributor resells the brewer's or beer importer's products. Without limitation, it is a violation of this section if:
(a) after a wholesale distributor has exceeded a resale price increase recommended by a brewer or beer importer, the
brewer or beer importer raises the price that it charges the wholesale distributor for those products within 60 days;
(b) after a wholesale distributor has exceeded a resale price increase recommended by a brewer or beer importer, the brewer or beer importer raises the price that it charges the wholesale distributor in an amount proportionately larger than the amount that it raised the wholesale distributor's prices initially when compared to the increase in the resale price that it recommended to the wholesale distributor; or
(c) the brewer or beer importer links or ties its participation in promotional discounts to the wholesale distributor's compliance with any recommended resale price.
(5) cancel or terminate, except for just cause or in accordance with the current terms and standards established by the brewer or beer importer then equally applicable to all wholesalers, any agreement or contract, written or oral, or the franchise of any wholesaler existing on January 1, 1974, or entered into after that date to sell beer manufactured by the brewer or imported by the beer importer. A brewer or beer importer may, notwithstanding the preceding sentence, make reasonable classifications among wholesalers. If a brewer or beer importer cancels or terminates a wholesaler's franchise, the brewer or beer importer has the burden of proving that the classification was reasonable and not arbitrary. After July 1, 1974, the provisions of 16-3-221 through 16-3-226 must be a part of any franchise, contract, agreement, or understanding, whether written or oral, between any wholesaler of beer licensed to do business in this state and any manufacturer or beer importer doing business with the licensed wholesaler just as though the provisions had been specifically agreed upon between the wholesaler and the manufacturer or beer importer."
Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.