Heard: April 2, 2019. 
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January
31, 2017. The case was heard by Robert B. Gordon, J., on
motions for judgment on the pleadings.
Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the
case from the Appeals Court.
M. Furgang, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant.
R. Kiley (Meredith G. Fierro also present) for the plaintiff.
C. Powell, for Massachusetts Package Store Association, Inc.,
amicus curiae, submitted a brief.
Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher,
& Kafker, JJ.
204 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.04(1) (1993), a regulation
promulgated by the alcoholic beverages control commission
(commission), a licensed retailer of alcoholic beverages
shall not "sell or offer to sell any alcoholic beverages
at a price less than invoiced cost," with "[c]ost .
. . defined as net cost appearing on the invoice for said
alcoholic beverage." Here, the licensed retailer at issue,
Massachusetts Fine Wines & Spirits, LLC, doing business
as Total Wine & More (Total Wine), sold bottles of liquor
and wine at prices that were below the cost listed on the
invoices for its purchase of those bottles from the
wholesaler. For this reason, the commission found Total Wine
in violation of § 2.04(1) . Total Wine contends that it
was not in violation of this regulation because, after
accounting for the "cumulative quantity discounts"
(CQDs) that it obtained from its bulk purchases of these
brands of liquor and wine -- which were credited in
subsequent invoices -- its ultimate net cost per bottle was
below its sales price to consumers.
conclude that the plain language of § 2.04(1) requires
that the net cost of liquor or wine sold to a licensed
retailer, including any credits applied to that sale from
CQDs, be reflected in the invoice for that particular sale,
and that it was reasonable for the commission to interpret
the regulation in accordance with the regulation's plain
language. We also conclude that the commission's
interpretation of this regulation is reasonable in light of
both its legislative mandate and the administrative demands
of efficient and uniform enforcement. Where Total Wine sold
liquor and wine purchased through the invoiced sales in the
record at prices below the net price reflected in those
invoices, the commission was justified in finding that Total
Wine sold the liquor or wine "at a price less than
invoiced cost," in violation of § 2.04(1).
Accordingly, we reverse the Superior Court judgment allowing
Total Wine's motion for judgment on the pleadings, and
remand the case to the Superior Court with instructions to
allow the commission's cross motion for judgment on the
pleadings and to enter judgment in favor of the
summarize the facts as found by the commission, which we
conclude are supported by substantial evidence. See Craft
Beer Guild, LLC v. Alcoholic Beverages Control
Comm'n, 481 Mass. 506, 509 (2019) (Craft),
citing G. L. c. 30A, § 14 (7) (e) .
Wine is a retailer of alcoholic beverages licensed by the
commission pursuant to G. L. c. 138, § 15, the statutory
provision of the Liquor Control Act authorizing liquor stores
to sell alcoholic beverages to be consumed off premises.
Craft, supra at 509 n.4. In December 2015,
the commission received numerous complaints that at least one
Total Wine retail store was selling alcoholic beverages to
consumers at prices below the invoiced cost to Total Wine, in
violation of 204 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.04(1). The
commission continued to receive complaints about Total
Wine's pricing practices regarding at least two retail
store locations in May and June of 2016. Pursuant to its
authority to undertake "general supervision of the
conduct of the business of . . . selling alcoholic
beverages," G. L. c. 10, § 71, and to
"enforc[e] and prevent violation of" its own
regulations, G. L. c. 138, § 24, the commission
initiated investigations into Total Wine's pricing
the commission's investigators obtained invoices from the
licensed wholesalers from whom Total Wine purchased its
liquor, they discovered that, with respect to at least four
brands of liquor and wine sold during November 2015, and at
least eight brands of liquor sold during May and June 2016,
Total Wine sold bottles to consumers at a price below its own
invoiced per-bottle cost. For example, as to one brand of
rum, Total Wine purchased cases from a wholesaler at an
original cost of $19.99 per bottle. The invoice reflected a
one percent "prompt payment" discount, because
Total Wine paid for ...