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A Lawsuit Could Derail One of the Biggest Players in the American Liquor Industry

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau raided the Bay Area offices of Southern Glazer’s in 2022. Now the company faces an antitrust lawsuit.

Bottles.
Southern Glazer’s, one of the biggest private companies in the country, is being sued.
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Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

If you don’t recognize the name Southern Glazer’s, you’re not alone. The company is responsible for getting almost all the big liquor brands including Grey Goose and Smirnoff to grocery stores nationwide; according to Forbes, it’s the 10th largest private company in the U.S. Now, the San Francisco Chronicle reports a competitor has filed a lawsuit against the company for “bullying” competitors, which comes after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau raided the company’s Bay Area office as part of a larger investigation in fall 2022. This kind of pressure from smaller players and the government is rare in the liquor industry, according to attorneys who spoke to the Chronicle.

The suit comes from Provi, an online company that connects alcohol retailers and distributors. The company alleges that Southern Glazer’s not only boycotted Provi, but also forced its customers to use Southern Glazer’s technology, halted all inbound emails to Provi, and announced it would take no orders brought from Provi. Southern Glazer’s denies the allegations and has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit; a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division will rule on that soon. “If anything gets past the motion to dismiss, it’s game on,” alcohol lawyer Sean O’Leary told the Chronicle.

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