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ALCOHOL LAW CHANGES COME TO PENNSYLVANIA

Effective August 8, 2016, Act. 39 amendments to the Pennsylvania Liquor Code signed into law by Governor Wolk become effective. The Act is aimed at increasing the availability and promotion of Pennsylvania alcohol products. The Pennslyvania Liquor Control Board has issued a SUMMARY of information relevant to Licensees. The act is aimed at creating parity between its categories of manufacturers.

Of particular interest, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has created a new direct wine shipper license (DWS) wherein a wine manufacturer may ship up to 36 cases of wine to Pennsylvania residents within a calendar year for personal use regardless whether produced in Pennsylvania, another state, or country. All wine however must be transported via a Pennsylvania licensed transporter-for-hire.

The big news of course it that those entities holding a restaurant or hotel license, the new law allows for the sale of wine up to three liters per single transaction, a matter of interest to the growing number of grocery stores.

Act 39 expands the availability of special exposition permits for Pennsylvania ciders, breweries, and distilleries which where historically only available to Pennsylvania Limited Wineries.

For more on this new change in law click here: Summary of Changes In Alcohol Law in PA.

MODERNIZATION AT THE PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD

Modernization has finally come to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board as it unfolds its new Online Licensing Platform. The new platform is expected to permit its business partners and applicants to operate in a secure environment over the internet. For more on this new venture: click here.

Pennsylvania Regulators Make Way For Beer Home Delivery

While most beer buyers have to purchase beer by the case or keg from a distributor, new changes are underway with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board that make way for less restrictive rules around the beer imagesselling of beer in Pennsylvania.

The PLCB’s recent changes underway allow for the selling of a 12-pack of beer or less with food orders from businesses that have a “Transporter-for Hire” License. The purchase of beer must be processed in advance in the store prior to delivery. In other words, the beer has to be paid for over the phone with a credit card. Proper ID must be provided in an effort to avoid selling to minors.

This new change comes as good news to many restaurants and businesses hoping to boost their profit margins. For more, see below:

Government Shutdown Stands To Create Economic Losses for Pennsylvania Wineries

For those of us in the wine industry, the government shutdown has brought the wine approval business to a halt. Federal approval for new wineries and/or wine labels is handled by the Federal Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). For purposes of the government shutdown, the TTB has been deemed non-essential. The Federal Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is not processing COLAs, new wine application permits, label approvals, or importation of wine in bond. Approximately 800,000 of the two million U.S. federal employees have been furloughed.

The suspension of the TTB’s regulatory functions means all reviews of alcohol beverage label permits, formulas are suspended until such time funding is reinstated. This means that many Pennsylvania wineries will not be able to sell their wines until the shutdown ends and their applications can be processed. The legal documents required to bottle and sell the wine has come to a halt, hence having severe financial impact to many of the State’s wineries.

The TTB has posted an Appropriations Lapse Notice. Once government services resume, a horrendous backlog for application processing is anticipated as we are now approaching Day 14 of the shutdown.

Pennsylvania Governor Unveils Plans To Privatize State Liquor Stores

Governor Tom Corbett (R) is expected to unveiled his plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s state liquor stores. The Governor proposes one stop shopping by allowing consumers to purchase wine and beer at grocery stores or big box store. The plan anticipates that prices would be driven down and calls for the auctioning off of some 1200 liquor licenses and the closure of some 600 stores. The Governor’s plan would have to be approved by the State’s Legislature. For more:

View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.

New Jersey Wineries Enjoy Direct Shipping

As the holiday season approaches, residents of New Jersey can not enjoy locally produced wine and have them shipped directly to their home. Governor Chris Christie signed into law this past spring, new legislation making New Jersey the thirty-ninth state to allow New Jersey wineries to ship directly to its customers. Out of state wineries may also seek a permit to ship to New Jersey customers as well. For more read: N.J. Wineries Enjoy Direct Shipping To Customers This Holiday Season.

Pennsylvania Wine Shipment Legislation Gains Momentum

On March 28, the Pennsylvania State Senate unanimously passed 48-0, Senate Bill 790 which would allow consumers to have domestic wines from U.S. wineries shipped directly to their homes in the state. Under the legislation, consumers would be allowed to purchase by phone, mail or internet as many as 24 domestic wines per month. However, for those residents interested in purchasing imported wines, Pennsylvania residents would still be required to continue to obtain imported wine purchases from the 620 state owned/controlled liquor stores.

Under the bill, consumers would be required to verify their age and sign for shipments. Wineries would be required to collect taxes prior to shipping and to pay a $100 state registration fee annually along with reporting requirements to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Pennsylvania is one of 14 states that restricts the shipping of wine to its residents. The State’s ban on direct shipment of wine has been a long standing concern integral to the wider debate on the future of the Pennsylvania’s state-controlled liquor store system. While proponents of the bill believe the legislation offers Pennsylvania residents a bit more liquor freedom while bolstering state revenue, Senator Lawrence M. Farnese Jr. D-Philadelphia, a co-sponsor of the bill voiced his disappointment arguing that late surfacing amendments to the bill shuts out “90 percent of the world’s wine” from French, German, Australian and other imports thus “giving the people of Pennsylvania less that what they should be getting”.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is the largest purchased of wine and spirits in the United States with sales topping $1.9 billion.

An End To Swipe And Blow For Pennsylvania Wine Consumers

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has ended its ill-fated wine vending program after a year’s experiment with statewide grocery stores. The wine kiosks located at 21 stores throughout the state required customers to swipe their ID, blow into a breathalyzer and look into a security camera to buy their wine. The program came under tough scrutiny with customer complaints, mechanical problems and lagging sales. This week, the PLCB concluded the wine kiosks program after the manufacturer Simple Brands LLC of Montgomery County defaulted on a payment of more than $1 million per Joe Conti, CEO of the PLCB. The end of the kiosks program comes during a time where House Majority Leader Republican plcb_kioskMike Turzai has introduced a bill to privatize the state’s liquor system proposing the sale of liquor licenses wherein supermarkets would be able to purchase licenses and sell wine to its customers. Alternatively, the PLCB initially envisioned the wine kiosks program as a way to implement modernization into the state’s liquor control system. Meanwhile as the turf battles continue in the industry, some of us are still looking for ways to “eat local” and “drink local”. Now what say you?

Here’s What Every Pennsylvania Liquor And Limited Winery Licensee Should Know

Pennsylvania’s Governor Corbett recently signed into law Act 11 (HB 148) which has made numerous changes to various sections of the Liquor Code. The Act made changes include adding a definition of “happy hour” and permitting retail liquor licensees to hold happy hour pricing up to four (4) hours per day and up to fourteen (14) hours per week. “Happy hour” is now defined as “the period of time during which a licensee discounts alcoholic beverages”. While the maximum period remains fourteen (14 hours per week, licensees will be able to adjust the length of their daily happy hours to take advantage of slow/busy days as long as the maximum limits are not exceeded. The hours need not be consecutive, but prohibitions against giving discounts between midnight and closing remains intact.

Three large changes have occurred for Pennsylvania’s Limited Wineries.

1) Effective immediately a limited winery can sell food for consumption on or off the main licensed premises and at its additional Board approved locations. It can also now sell wine by the glass at both its main premises and its satellite locations.

2) Effective immediately, a limited winery is now allowed to sell its alcoholic products from 9:00 am to 11:00 p.m, extending from the old 9:00 p.m. closing. The old law regarding expanded hours for the holiday period has been deleted.

3) Effective July 28, 2011, a limited winery will be able to apply for a “farmers market permit” for the sale of its product at more than one (1) famers market at any given time. The permit fee is $250.00 annually and there is no limit as to the number of days it can be used in that year. The limited winery can sell by the bottle or in case lots. All sales must occur during the standard operating hours of the farmers market. Samples must be free and cannot exceed one (1) fluid ounce per brand.

For more on the new changes to the liquor laws read: What Licensees Should Know About Act 11 of 2011.

Pennsylvania’s Privatization Battle For The State’s Liquor Stores Continue

State Rep. John Payne, R-Derry Twp plans to introduce a bill to allow the the state’s 1200 beer distributors to apply for a free permit to carry wine and spirits at your local beer distributor. Permits to wholesalers would cost $50 million. Payne’s proposal in the debate on privatization of the state’s liquor stores would leave the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirit stores intact. For more on the debate read: Pennlive.com: Wine and Spirits At Beer Distributors?