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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free

Alcohol Tax & Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

Q: May an alcoholic beverage wholesaler fill the floor or display racks with alcohol products for off sale retailers? (September 05)

Q: May an alcoholic beverage wholesaler sell a lesser quantity of promoted product at a higher discounted price if it was the retailer’s intention to buy a larger quantity but the wholesaler does not have a sufficient quantity available in inventory? (September 05)

Q: What is the purpose of the “questions and answers” (Q&A) portion of the alcohol category of the Tax Commissioner’s web site? What is the significance of the dates after each question? (September 05)

Q: Are manufacturer’s instant redeemable (IR) coupons offered on alcoholic beverage products at the retail point of sale legal in this state? (September 05)

Q: May a beer wholesaler offer beer at a discounted price to only select retailers if the product is becoming old and near the destroy date? (June 05)

Q: May an alcoholic beverage retailer purchase large volumes of promoted product at the end of a wholesaler promotion and have the product delivered over several weeks? (June 05)

Q: May an alcoholic beverage wholesaler provide an outdoor sign to a retailer with the retailer’s name on it? (June 05)

Q: May an alcoholic beverage retailer transfer product from multiple alcoholic retail licenses owned by the same legal entity? (June 05)

Q: Do North Dakota’s alcoholic beverage laws prohibit price discrimination of products being sold by a licensed beer wholesaler? (September 04)

Q: Is an alcoholic beverage wholesaler in compliance with the “cash for beer” provision of the state administrative code if a retailer elects to pay a wholesaler using an electronic funds transfer (EFT)? (September 04)

Q: Can a beer or liquor wholesaler provide sponsorship to an event where the promoter holds a retail alcohol license? (June 04)

Q: Can an alcoholic beverage wholesaler conduct a product tasting at a licensed retail location and also advertise such an event? (June 04)


Q: May an alcoholic beverage wholesaler fill the floor or display racks with alcohol products for off sale retailers? (September 05)

A: Yes, the wholesaler may fill the floor or display racks of off sale retailers with alcohol products if it is in conjunction with the sale and delivery of product. The wholesaler cannot return to the retail location at a later date and provide this service since it would be providing something of value to the retailer.

Q: May an alcoholic beverage wholesaler sell a lesser quantity of promoted product at a higher discounted price if it was the retailer’s intention to buy a larger quantity but the wholesaler does not have a sufficient quantity available in inventory? (September 05)

A: No. A wholesaler cannot offer a higher price discount for a lesser purchase quantity if the product is not actually available at the time of purchase. The wholesaler would have to offer the higher price discount for a lesser quantity of product to ALL alcoholic beverage retailers in their sales territory.

Q: What is the purpose of the “questions and answers” (Q&A) portion of the alcohol category of the Tax Commissioner’s web site? What is the significance of the dates after each question? (September 05)

A: The alcohol Q&A segment of the web site was developed at the request of the alcohol industry. The purpose of the Q&A is to disseminate alcohol industry information resulting from inquiries and requests for clarification and review from manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers.

The date after each question designates when the Q&A was posted on the web site and does not constitute the effective date of the information provided.

Q: Are manufacturer’s instant redeemable (IR) coupons offered on alcoholic beverage products at the retail point of sale legal in this state? (September 05)

A: No. Manufacturer’s IR coupons offered at the retail point of sale are not legal in this state, as the manufacturer would pay the retailer a handling charge to reimburse the retailer for redeeming the IR coupon at the point of sale. The manufacturer’s payment of the handling charge to the retailer would be considered something of value and a violation of the unfair competition statute.

Q: May a beer wholesaler offer beer at a discounted price to only select retailers if the product is becoming old and near the destroy date? (June 05)

A: No. A beer wholesaler is violating the price discrimination statute if they offer or sell any of their products for any reason to only select retailers in their sales territory.

Q: May an alcoholic beverage retailer purchase large volumes of promoted product at the end of a wholesaler promotion and have the product delivered over several weeks? (June 05)

A: No. A wholesaler must deliver all purchased product to a retailer in one delivery prior to the expiration of the promotion period. Holding the product for the retailer is considered to be warehousing of the product and is providing something of value to the retailer.

Q: May an alcoholic beverage wholesaler provide an outdoor sign to a retailer with the retailer’s name on it? (June 05)

A: No. The retailer’s name cannot be placed on a giveaway sign. Use of a retailer’s name on a giveaway sign constitutes coop advertising and is prohibited.

Q: May an alcoholic beverage retailer transfer product from multiple alcoholic retail licenses owned by the same legal entity? (June 05)

A: Yes. An October 2002 letter opinion from the North Dakota Attorney General ruled a licensed alcohol retailer may transfer product between accounts if they are owned by the same legal entity.

Q: Do North Dakota’s alcoholic beverage laws prohibit price discrimination of products being sold by a licensed beer wholesaler? (September 04)

A: Yes. State law provides that a beer wholesaler may not discriminate in the price of beer being sold to licensed alcoholic beverage retailers or in price promotions offered within the wholesaler’s sales territory. Any beer wholesaler who publishes, mails, delivers, advertises, or in any way directly or indirectly distributes written price information for beer shall, in any such material, include all allowances, discounts, or terms, and provide a copy of the price information to all retailers served by it and the state tax commissioner.

Q: Is an alcoholic beverage wholesaler in compliance with the “cash for beer” provision of the state administrative code if a retailer elects to pay a wholesaler using an electronic funds transfer (EFT)? (September 04)

A: Yes. Use of an EFT is a permissible means of complying with the “cash for beer” provision of the administrative code. The retailer must initiate an EFT request the day the wholesaler delivers the beer to the retailer’s physical location. The wholesaler should be provided with an EFT remittance advice indicating the date the funds were requested by the retailer and the date the funds will be placed in the wholesaler’s financial account. The funds should be placed in the wholesaler’s financial account no later than the second business day after the delivery date of the beer to the retailer.

Q: Can a beer or liquor wholesaler provide sponsorship to an event where the promoter holds a retail alcohol license? (June 04)

A: No. A wholesaler may not provide anything of value to a promoter that holds a retail alcohol license. If a wholesaler is unsure of a promoter’s status, please contact the alcohol compliance section at 701-328-2702 for assistance.

Q: Can an alcoholic beverage wholesaler conduct a product tasting at a licensed retail location and also advertise such an event? (June 04)

A: Yes, a wholesaler can conduct a product tasting at a licensed retail location provided the wholesaler uses their own employee or employees to conduct the tasting. Any alcoholic beverage product not used during the tasting must be returned to the wholesaler’s location.

The wholesaler cannot advertise the tasting event at the retailer’s location. However, it is acceptable for the retailer to advertise at their own expense that the wholesaler will be conducting a product tasting event at the retailer’s location.

With any product tasting event, the wholesaler must ensure their employee or employees are 21 years of age or older, and that the event is in compliance with local ordinances. The wholesaler is also responsible for consulting with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury regarding any federal restrictions or requirements involving product tasting.

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