Albertsons LLC, Safeway Inc. and The Vons Companies Inc. agree to pay $600,000 after ABC investigation found illegal business practices
Sacramento – The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) announced today that Albertsons LLC, Safeway Inc., and The Vons Companies, Inc. have agreed to pay $600,000 following an ABC investigation that alleged violations of California alcoholic beverage laws. $300,000 is due in 30 days, with the remaining $300,000 stayed on the condition that none of the companies engage in similar misconduct during the next two years.
The violations arose out of the sale of alcoholic beverages in connection with the 2018 Monopoly Promotion conducted by the Albertsons company at its Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pac N Save, and Pavilions stores. The promotion advertised certain beer brands produced by MillerCoors as part of the Monopoly game and customers received additional chances to win prizes in the sweepstakes promotion if they purchased certain MillerCoors products.
ABC filed disciplinary action against 599 stores statewide. “Today’s action reinforces ABC’s commitment to regulate a fair and healthy market place where all licensees play by the same rules,” said ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith. “This particular violation gave these retailers a competitive advantage by offering consumers a gift or premium for purchasing alcoholic beverage products.”
ABC opened an investigation in 2018 and eventually found violations of Business and Professions Code sections 24200, 25600, and California Code of Regulations, title 4, section 106 (“Rule 106”).
The California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act prohibits the giving away of premiums, gifts or free goods in connection with the sale or marketing of alcoholic beverages. This restriction helps prevent overly aggressive marketing practices by alcohol licensees, which can lead to anti-competitive behavior. These laws are intended, in part, to promote a healthy alcohol marketplace by maintaining a level playing field through the regulation of retailers of alcoholic beverages and preventing one retailer from illegally getting a leg up on its competitors.
ABC’s mission is to provide the highest level of service and public safety through licensing, education and enforcement. To learn more about ABC programs that help protect communities and prevent alcohol-related harm visit our website.
ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.