REYMANN BREWING CO v. BRISTER(1900)
[179 U.S. 445, 446] On January 13, 1898, the Reymann Brewing Company, a corporation of the state of West Virginia, with its principal office in the city of Wheeling, filed a bill of complaint in the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of the state of Ohio, against Harry Brister, treasurer of the county of Jefferson, state of Ohio, seeking to restrain and enjoin the said Brister from retaining the possession of certain personal property belonging to the brewing company, which he had seized in enforcement of certain laws of the state of Ohio, which provide for the collection of a tax known as the 'Dow tax.'
The cause was submitted upon the bill, a general demurrer thereto, and a statement of facts agreed upon by the parties. The statement of facts was as follows:
The Ohio statute referred to in the agreed statement of facts, [179 U.S. 445, 449] known as the 'Dow law,' and entitled 'An Act Providing against the Evils Resulting from the Traffic in Intoxicating Liquors,' provides:
Subsequently the defendant, with leave of court, withdrew the demurrer, and the cause coming on to be heard was, after agreement, submitted to the court upon the bill and the agreed statement of facts. On February 25, 1899, a final judgment was entered dismissing the bill at the cost of the complainant. Thereupon an appeal was allowed to this court.
Mr. J. Bernard Handlan for appellant.
Mr. Addison C. Lewis for appellee.
Mr. Justice Shiras delivered the opinion of the court: [179 U.S. 445, 451] By the 1st section of the statute of the state of Ohio, known as the 'Dow law,' it is provided 'that upon the business of trafficking in spirituous, vinous, malt, or any intoxicating liquors there shall be assessed yearly, and shall be paid into the county treasury, as hereinafter provided, by every person, corporation, or copartnership engaged therein, and for each place where such business is carried on by or for such person, corporation, or copartnership, the sum of three hundred and fifty dollars.' 92 Ohio Laws, p. 34.
The Reymann Brewing Company, a corporation of the state of West Virginia, whose property has been seized to enforce payment of such as assessment, alleges that, as respects such foreign corporation, the statute is void, because it discriminates in favor of manufacturers and brewers of beer who have their plaints located within the state of Ohio as against those who have their plants located in other states, and because it constitutes, in its practical operation a regulation of commerce between the states.
So far as the terms of the statute are concerned, they do not disclose any intention to discriminate between foreign and domestic dealers in intoxicating liquors, as the tax in question is to be assessed upon every person, corporation, or copartnership engaged in the business of trafficking in such liquors. But it is contended that the effect of the legislation necessarily results in such a discrimination, because of the provisions of the 8th section of the statute, which is in the following words:
The effect of this is claimed to be that the domestic manufacturer may sell liquor, in quantities of one gallon or more, at the place of manufacture without being subjected to the tax, [179 U.S. 445, 452] and that thus he has an advantage over the foreign manufacturer, who can only sell, in Ohio, at some other place than the place of manufacture, and is thereby subjected to the tax. In other words, while the domestic manufacturer must pay the tax if he sells at other places than the place of manufacture, yet as he is declared not to be within the act in selling at the place of manufacture in quantities not less than one gallon at any one time, such a provision operates as an illegal discrimination against the foreign competitor, who must necessarily sell at places other than the place of manufacture.
Under this provision, the manufacturers, whether within or without the state, may sell at the manufactory and ship to any part of the state of Ohio, and the incidental disadvantage that the foreign manufacturer is under that if, instead of selling at the place of his plant, he wishes to establish a place within the state of Ohio, he is obliged to pay the tax, does not appear to arise out of any intention on the part of the state legislature to make a hostile discrimination against foreign manufacturers. If an Ohio corporation or copartnership should establish its place of manufacture in another state it would be subjected to the tax if it sold intoxicating liquor at a place within the state of Ohio; and if a foreign corporation should manufacture at a place within Ohio, it would sell its product, in quantities not less than one gallon, without being subjected to the tax.
A similar contention was disposed of by this court in New York v. Roberts, 171 U.S. 658 , sub nom. People ex rel. Parke, D. & Co. v. Roberts, 43 L. ed. 323, 19 Sup. Ct. Rep. 658. In that case a corporation of the state of Michigan, and having its factory within that state, had a warehouse and store for the sale of its products in the city of New York. A statute of the state of New York enacted that 'every corporation, joint- stock company, or association whatever, now or hereafter incorporated, organized, or formed under, by, or pursuant to law in this state, or in any other state or country and doing business in this state, except . . . manufacturing or mining corporations or companies wholly engaged in carrying on manufacture or mining ores within this state, . . . shall be liable to and shall pay a tax as a tax upon its franchise or business into the state treasury annually,' and that 'the amount of capital stock which shall be the basis for [179 U.S. 445, 453] tax . . . in the case of every corporation, joint-stock company, and association, liable to taxation thereunder shall be the amount of capital stock employed within this state.'
It was claimed that the Michigan corporation, having come within the jurisdiction of New York by compliance with all the provisions of law imposing conditions for transacting business within the state, was denied the equal protection of the law when subjected to a tax from which were exempted other corporations, foreign and domestic, which wholly manufactured the same class of goods within the state, and that such a tax was an unjust discrimination against the corporation, whose place of manufacture was in the state of Michigan. But this court held otherwise, saying:
So, in the present case, the exemption is not confined to Ohio corporations or copartnerships, but extends as well to foreign corporations whose place of manufacturing is within the state of Ohio; and so, likewise, the tax is imposed on Ohio corporations which manufacture goods in other states, and establish places for their sales within the state of Ohio, or which, manufacturing within the state, establish places within the state distinct from the manufactory, where their liquors are sold and delivered.
In exempting sales in quantities exceeding one gallon at the place of manufacture, and in imposing the tax upon such sales [179 U.S. 445, 454] when made at places elsewhere, the legislature of Ohio was, in the exercise of its police power, aiming to restrict the evils of saloons, or places where liquors are drunk. By imposing the tax upon the latter, the law, to some extent, is calculated to lessen an acknowledged source of vice and disorder.
The supreme court of the state of Ohio, in construing the statute in question, has clearly pointed out the reasons that actuated the legislature in distinguishing between places where the liquors are manufactured and those where liquors are sold to be drunk on the premises. Thus in the case of Adler v. Whitbeck, 44 Ohio St. 574, 9 N. E. 672, that court said: 'It was for the legislature to determine the form of the traffic that required to be regulated as a source of evil. It has in a measure drawn a line between a distillery and a brewery on the one hand and a saloon on the other. There is nothing unreal in the distinction. It is known by all men, and in one respect probably too well by many men. And unless absolute prohibition is resorted to no more practical distinction could be made.'
It remains to consider whether the court below erred in finding, under the facts agreed upon, that the Reymann Brewing Company has established a place in the city of Steubenville, in the state of Ohio, where its beer was sold and delivered, and thus has become liable to the tax prescribed by the law.
It is sufficient to say that it is distinctly admitted that the brewing company not only ships its beer in barrels and cases, in filling orders received, and delivers it directly to the purchasers (which sales and deliveries are not by the statute subjected to any tax), but also maintains a storehouse in Steubenville, where it sells and delivers beer and collects payment. Such transactions constitute the brewing company a trafficker in intoxicating liquor having a place, other than the place of manufacture, where the traffic is carried on within the meaning of the law. And, of course, it is obvious that such liquors, sold and delivered within the state of Ohio, are within the provisions of the statute of the United States, known as the Wilson law, which provides that intoxicating liquors transported into any state for sale or storage therein shall be subject to the operation and effect of the laws of such [179 U.S. 445, 455] state, enacted in the exercise of its police powers, to the same extent and in the same manner as though such liquor had been produced in such state, and shall not be exempt therefrom by reason of being introduced therein in original packages or otherwise. 26 Stat. at L. 313, chap. 728.
As this statute subjects intoxicating liquors imported into a state to the operation and effect of the laws of such state only when enacted in the exercise of its police powers, it is contended that such is not the character of the Dow law; that, as it contains no prohibition upon the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors, and only purports to regulate the trafficking therein , it is not a police measure.
As we have heretofore stated, the supreme court of Ohio has construed the law to aim at controlling and regulating sales in quantities less than one gallon in saloons or at places other than the place of manufacture, and to be, therefore, within the scope of the police power. We think that this view of the meaning and intent of the statute is consistent with its language, and, even if not bound by the construction put upon the statute by the state court when applying the provisions of the Wilson law, we do not hesitate to adopt it.
A similar contention was disposed of by this court in the case of Vance v. W. A. Vandercook Co. 170 U.S. 447 , 42 L. ed. 1104, 18 Sup. Ct. Rep. 674, and where it was said
These views prevailed in the court below, where it was held that manufacturers of intoxicating liquors within and without the state may sell at the manufactory and ship to any part [179 U.S. 445, 456] of the state of Ohio, and may solicit orders for their goods in any part of the state to be shipped from the manufactory; but that if they establish places within the state, distinct from the manufactory, where their goods are to be stored, for the purposes of sale and delivery, and such goods are there sold and delivered, then they become traffickers within the meaning of the law, and are liable to pay the tax. 92 Fed. Rep. 28.
Accordingly, the decree of the Circuit Court, dismissing the bill of complaint, is affirmed.
Mr. Justice Harlan concurs in the result.