Local officials and event organizers have begun announcing cancellations of widely-attended events, such as parades, festivals, fairs, concerts, and sporting events based on concerns about COVID-19. These announcements may be made after wholesalers and retailers purchased large quantities of products to sell during those events.
The federal consignment sales rules (27 CFR 11.21) generally prohibit the sale or purchase of alcohol beverage products with the privilege of return. Returns for ordinary and usual commercial reasons arising after the product has been sold are not prohibited, but the return or exchange of a product because it is overstocked or slow-moving does not constitute a return for ordinary and commercial reasons ( 27 CFR 11.45).
Given the unexpected and widespread nature of the concerns involving COVID-19, TTB will not consider returns of alcohol beverage products purchased to sell during such cancelled events to violate federal consignment sales rules provided the products were not initially purchased or sold with the privilege of return. Even though such returns are lawful, a producer or wholesaler is not required to accept returns of such products.