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View Full Version : Accounts asking for couplers?



CharlosCarlies
07-17-2014, 02:34 PM
We're brand new, but this is the second time in two weeks we've been asked to supply a new coupler to get us on the wall. Strange thing is we're using standard D couplers, so wtf gives? Are the big boys doing stuff like this and that's why some accounts have come to expect it, or are they just trying to see how much they can get out of us because we're new?

Cheers and thanks in advance!

kyle.carbaugh
07-17-2014, 04:29 PM
I had an account ask us to re-do their draft towers for them. I told them I'd look into it and get back to them, knowing full well that providing service hardware could be construed as "Pay to Play" or commercial bribery.

Click here (http://www.ttb.gov/industry_circulars/archives/1993/93-06.html)

While this is an egregious example and worthy of prosecution, even providing couplers to an account could be construed as a [mild] case of commercial bribery. Saying you'll check into it and get back to them gives you the time to get the authoritative literature, and put together a formal opinion on such practices. I came back to the account a couple of days later, kindly explained to them that it was actually illegal and our brewery wouldn't be able to strike a deal if that was a condition of placing our beers at their establishment, and that was that -- end of discussion... a handful of kegs purchased the next day.

I would say that most accounts are oblivious to the legal ramifications of those kinds of arrangements, and are happy to follow the straight and narrow if it keeps their names out of the paper, especially for the cost of a keg coupler. Hope that helps!

Cheers!

uptown brothers
07-17-2014, 05:39 PM
I've had distributors lend me, say, a euro slider type, for a one-off or short term run (say, O'Hara's Stout for St. Patrick's Day) back when I had a retail establishment. They charged me, via hard copy invoice, a deposit. I returned the specialty coupler when the keg emptied. Well actually their driver picked up their empties from the back of the joint, I handed the coupler to the rep the next time he came to my office. Next invoice credited me the deposit which I guess I actually never paid, it was a debit and then a credit on my account--same as the keg deposits.

Hope that wasn't illegal!

I can't imagine me, back then, asking for a Sankey D from somebody though. Or them giving it to me.

Doctor Pretty
10-08-2014, 07:00 AM
We gave them out to new accounts pretty regularly. If they took our beer off I was expected to retrieve them. It was all done on the sly but I don't think the practice is all that uncommon where I am from. Pennsylvania.

callmetim
10-09-2014, 06:57 AM
why do they need a new coupler? isn't there already one existing for that line? I have supplied short handled couplers to accounts because we use 1/6 kegs and a standard coupler handle hits the edge and won't close.

hopness_monster
12-23-2014, 06:15 AM
I had an account ask us to re-do their draft towers for them. I told them I'd look into it and get back to them, knowing full well that providing service hardware could be construed as "Pay to Play" or commercial bribery.

Click here (http://www.ttb.gov/industry_circulars/archives/1993/93-06.html)

While this is an egregious example and worthy of prosecution, even providing couplers to an account could be construed as a [mild] case of commercial bribery. Saying you'll check into it and get back to them gives you the time to get the authoritative literature, and put together a formal opinion on such practices. I came back to the account a couple of days later, kindly explained to them that it was actually illegal and our brewery wouldn't be able to strike a deal if that was a condition of placing our beers at their establishment, and that was that -- end of discussion... a handful of kegs purchased the next day.

I would say that most accounts are oblivious to the legal ramifications of those kinds of arrangements, and are happy to follow the straight and narrow if it keeps their names out of the paper, especially for the cost of a keg coupler. Hope that helps!

Cheers!

Do you know of an updated article from the TTB? The one that you posted was from 1993 and I was wondering if anything has changed. We get asked about giving couplers out all the time and I want to be on the right side of this debate. We never "pay to play" and I want to make sure we never do in the future. And if you charge them a deposit on the invoice for the coupler would it be considered a "commercial bribe"?

d_striker
12-23-2014, 11:55 AM
We're a brewpub that sells guest beer as well. Our distributors will loan us couplers for kegs other than D type sankeys. We have to give them one of our couplers though and we swap back once we're done with it.

Sounds shady for accounts to be asking for regular D type couplers.

andymonto
01-03-2015, 11:06 PM
I was told it's illegal to provide couplers to accounts but it's not illegal to "loan" shanks and air/beer line. Also as a distributor we can't provide any faucets or replacement parts for the faucets we can only direct them to what and where to buy it. Maybe the distributors in your area are bending the rules quite a bit, I can say with first hand experience that the distribution industry can be a jungle with tons of snakes in the grass. Hope this helps.