Bar owners accused of ‘pay-to-play’ practices ask for leniency at hearing
The Wilcox Group, which owns the Tip Tap Room (above), acknowledged taking $1,000 for each of 20 tap lines from Craft Brewers Guild. The Wilcox Group, which owns the Tip Tap Room, acknowledged taking $1,000 for each of 20 tap lines from Craft Brewers Guild.
By Kristi Palma June 15, 2016
Boston bar owners accused of taking kickbacks from a beer distributor asked for leniency at a state disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, reports The Boston Globe.
Investigators say five restaurant operators took $120,000 in kickbacks from Everett beer distributor Craft Brewers Guild. The practice of accepting money for tap access or shelf space is called “pay-to-play.” Three of the five accused companies appeared before the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, and said they accepted the money, but the distributor did not insist upon it.
“When the public reads about this case, they think some horrible, evil thing is going on,” said Louis Cassis, attorney for the Glynn Group, which owns Clery’s, Dillion’s, and other local bars. “But this is the only industry where this is prohibited. . . . What happened here was simply an effort by someone to market and support beer that was otherwise unknown and would never get to market.”
The companies at the hearing were the Glynn Hospitality Group Inc., the Wilcox Hospitality Group Inc., and the Cronin Group LLC. Two other companies accused of taking kickbacks, the Lyons Group and the Briar Group, will face ABCC hearings later in the year.