9823050
B252786

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Commissioners:
Robert Pitofsky, Chairman
Sheila F. Anthony
Mozelle W. Thompson
Orson Swindle

In the Matter of

ALLIED DOMECQ SPIRITS & WINE AMERICAS, INC., and ALLIED DOMECQ SPIRITS & WINE USA, INC. d.b.a. HIRAM WALKER corporations

DOCKET NO. C-3858

DECISION AND ORDER

The Federal Trade Commission having initiated an investigation of certain acts and practices of the respondents named in the caption hereof, and the respondents having been furnished thereafter with a copy of a draft of complaint which the Bureau of Consumer Protection proposed to present to the Commission for its consideration and which, if issued by the Commission, would charge the respondents with violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act; and

The respondents, their attorney, and counsel for the Commission having thereafter executed an agreement containing a consent order, an admission by the respondents of all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the aforesaid draft complaint, a statement that the signing of the agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by respondents that the law has been violated as alleged in such complaint, or that the facts as alleged in such complaint, other than jurisdictional facts, are true, and waivers and other provisions as required by the Commission's Rules; and

The Commission having thereafter considered the matter and having determined that it had reason to believe that the respondent has violated the Act, and that complaint should issue stating its charges in that respect, and having thereupon accepted the executed consent agreement and placed such agreement on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days, and having duly considered the comments filed thereafter by interested persons pursuant to  2.34 of its Rules, now in further conformity with the procedure prescribed in 2.34 of its Rules, the Commission hereby issues its complaint, makes the following jurisdictional findings, and enters the following order:

1. Respondent Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Americas, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal office or place of business at 3000 Town Center, Southfield, MI 48075.

2. Respondent Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine USA, Inc. d/b/a Hiram Walker is a Michigan corporation with its principal office or place of business at 3000 Town Center, Southfield, MI 48075. Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine USA, Inc. d/b/a Hiram Walker is a wholly owned subsidiary of Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Americas, Inc.

3. The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this proceeding and of the respondents, and the proceeding is in the public interest.

ORDER

DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:

1. Unless otherwise specified, "respondents" shall mean Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Americas, Inc. and Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine USA, Inc. d/b/a Hiram Walker, corporations, their successors and assigns, and their officers, agents, representatives, and employees.

2. "Commerce" shall mean as defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C.  44.

I.

IT IS ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of beverage alcohol products in or affecting commerce shall not, in any manner, expressly or by implication:

A. Represent that any beverage alcohol product containing 5.9% alcohol by volume is a low alcohol beverage; or
 
B. Misrepresent, through numerical or descriptive terms, or any other means, the amount of alcohol contained in any beverage alcohol product.
 
Provided, however, that a statement of alcohol percent by volume shall not violate this order if it is within the tolerances identified for such beverage in 27 C.F.R. 4.36 (b)(1) and (2)(wines containing 7 percent or more alcohol); 27 C.F.R. 5.37(b)(distilled spirits); 27 C.F.R. 7.71 (c)(1) and (2)(malt beverages); and 27 C.F.R. 24.257 (a)(4)(wine beverages containing less than 7 percent alcohol); and
 
provided, further, that nothing in this order shall prohibit respondents from making any representation about the amount of alcohol contained in any beverage alcohol product that is specifically required in advertising for such product by regulation or order promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms pursuant to the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.

II.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Americas, Inc. and Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine USA, Inc. d/b/a Hiram Walker and their successors and assigns, shall, for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by Part I of this order, maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying:

A. All advertisements and promotional materials containing the representation;
 
B. All materials that were relied upon in disseminating the representation; and
 
C. All tests, reports, studies, surveys, demonstrations, or other evidence in their possession or control that contradict, qualify, or call into question the representation, or the basis relied upon for the representation, including complaints and other communications with consumers or with governmental or consumer protection organizations.

Provided, however, that Subparts A & B of this Part shall not apply to representations of alcohol percent by volume content or proof required or permitted in advertising by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

III.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Americas, Inc. and Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine USA, Inc. d/b/a Hiram Walker and their successors and assigns shall deliver a copy of this order to all current and future principals, officers, directors, and managers, and to all current and future employees, agents, and representatives having direct or supervisory responsibilities with respect to the creation or approval of advertising that is the subject matter of this order, and shall secure from each such person a signed and dated statement acknowledging receipt of the order. Respondents shall deliver this order to current personnel within thirty (30) days after the date of service of this order, and to future personnel within thirty (30) days after the person assumes such position or responsibilities.

IV.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Americas, Inc. and Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine USA, Inc. d/b/a Hiram Walker and their successors and assigns shall notify the Commission at least thirty (30) days prior to any change in the corporation(s) that may affect compliance obligations arising under this order, including but not limited to a dissolution, assignment, sale, merger, or other action that would result in the emergence of a successor corporation; the creation or dissolution of a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate that engages in any acts or practices subject to this order; the proposed filing of a bankruptcy petition; or a change in the corporate name or address. Provided, however, that, with respect to any proposed change in the corporation about which respondents learn less than thirty (30) days prior to the date such action is to take place, respondents shall notify the Commission as soon as is practicable after obtaining such knowledge. All notices required by this Part shall be sent by certified mail to the Associate Director, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.

V.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Americas, Inc. and Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine USA, Inc. d/b/a Hiram Walker and their successors and assigns, shall, within sixty (60) days after the date of service of this order, and at such other times as the Federal Trade Commission may require, file with the Commission a report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which they have complied with this order.

VI.

This order will terminate on March 5, 2019, or twenty (20) years from the most recent date that the United States or the Federal Trade Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the order, whichever comes later; provided, however, that the filing of such a complaint will not affect the duration of:

A. Any Part in this order that terminates in less than twenty (20) years;
 
B. This order's application to any respondent that is not named as a defendant in such complaint; and
 
C. This order if such complaint is filed after the order has terminated pursuant to this Part.

Provided, further, that if such complaint is dismissed or a federal court rules that the respondent(s) did not violate any provision of the order, and the dismissal or ruling is either not appealed or upheld on appeal, then the order will terminate according to this Part as though the complaint had never been filed, except that the order will not terminate between the date such complaint is filed and the later of the deadline for appealing such dismissal or ruling and the date such dismissal or ruling is upheld on appeal.

By the Commission.

SEAL:

Donald S. Clark
Secretary

ISSUED: March 5, 1999