(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — In an effort to protect Ohio businesses that sell alcohol and keep the local economy strong, Ohio Attorney Dave Yost has reached a proposed settlement agreement with the first of seven out-of-state companies who are accused of illegally shipping wine and spirits.
The investigation announced in July by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control sought to determine whether taxes were leaving our state through products being shipped illegally. The results were that multiple out-of-state providers of wine and liquor have flouted state law resulting in millions of tax dollars leaving Ohio.
“It will make it much more difficult for Ohio liquor stores to survive if outside companies continue to unfairly skirt our laws,” Yost said. “The law is designed to provide a fair marketplace and local businesses should not be at a disadvantage for playing by the rules.”
The law is meant to ensure payment of state and local taxes and shield Ohio liquor businesses that operate properly from illegal competition from out-of-state alcohol distributors. It also serves as a way to control the sale of alcohol to minors.
The proposed consent decree settlement is with AWS Hopkins LLC., doing business as Ace Spirits, for violations of Ohio liquor laws, chapter 4301 and 4303.
As part of the settlement, Ace Spirits agrees to immediately stop violating Ohio law. The company must train its staff on Ohio law and issue disclaimers in its advertising.
These legal actions by the attorney general’s office are among one of the first to ever invoke the U.S. Constitution’s 21st Amendment, which uniquely empowers each state to regulate the importation or transportation of liquor into its boundaries. Under the Constitution’s Enforcement Act, a state attorney general may bring a civil action in federal court to prohibit violations of state laws regarding the transportation and importation of intoxicating liquor.
The consent decree and the motion to approve the agreement can be found here.