Boston Bar Owners Accepted Thousands From Beer Distributor to Exclude Competitor Brands

A number of popular bars and restaurants in Boston accepted money for every designated tap serving beer from one distributor
Boston Bar Owners Accepted Thousands From Beer Distributor to Exclude Competitor Brands

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The illegal ‘pay to play’ practice allowed major beer producers to control the market, edging out smaller brands 

The owners of five popular restaurants and bars in Boston have been accused of entering illegal “pay to play” deals — in which a company pays to keep its product in stock and keep smaller competitors at bay — with Craft Beer Guild LLC, a local beer distributor.

Each bar owner is accused of accepting money — between $1,000 and $2,000 for each dedicated beer tap — from the distributor, totaling thousands of dollars in illegal revenue each year. The case is the first of its kind brought against local businesses by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

The bars cited by the regulatory agency are Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill, Estelle’s, Gather, Game On Fenway, and Coogan’s. Each owner operates other bars and restaurants in Boston in addition to these locations.

“This conduct is not something… that we’re proud of,” J. Mark Dickinson, an attorney for Craft Beer Guild, told The Boston Globe, confirming the payments. A hearing is scheduled for November.

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