We appreciate the IBJ’s continued coverage of Monarch Beverage Co.’s non-stop attempts to circumvent Indiana law. While your Aug. 29 story highlighted the wholesaler’s latest move to monopolize an industry, it failed to point out a couple of important things [Emails show state staffers rooting against Monarch’s liquor battle, IBJ.com].
First, when it comes to alcohol wholesalers in Indiana, the law is clear that a person cannot have an interest, financial or otherwise, in beer, wine and liquor. That means neither Monarch itself, nor its individual owners, can possess an interest in a liquor distributors permit. Yet, the company files endless lawsuits in court, lobbies legislators at the Statehouse and files applications with the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission to try and get around that.
It’s not as though Monarch’s leadership is unaware of this law. In fact, Monarch President and CEO Phil Terry successfully argued against another wine and liquor wholesaler that was attempting to do the same thing. He prevented a competitor from getting into the beer business, when that competitor’s wife attempted to purchase a beer wholesaler through a totally separate company.
Finally, if employees of the Governor’s Office and the ATC appeared impatient with Monarch’s applications, it’s clearly due to the sheer number of times Monarch has come before the commission attempting to do what the law strictly prohibits: allowing a beer and wine wholesaler to distribute liquor.
Monarch has spent countless dollars on lobbying and litigation over the years, only to fail many times. This most recent court decision is legally incorrect and has the potential to do great harm. It ignores numerous prohibitions in the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage code on monopolization of alcohol wholesaling and is contrary to legal precedent throughout the country.
It will result in Monarch having a unique advantage over every other alcohol wholesaler in the state of Indiana.
Jim Purucker, executive director
Wine and Spirits Distributors of Indiana