|Posted:||September 9, 2020 02:47 PM|
|From:||Representative Greg Rothman|
|To:||All House members|
|Since the expansion of alcohol sales in 2016, Pennsylvania consumers have become accustomed to purchasing beer and wine to-go at restaurants, bars, grocery stores and convenience stores. Customer purchasing preferences have shown that this expansion has been widely received as a positive. Further, the increased number of licensees has resulted in positive revenue for the state in the form of licensing and permitting fees, as well as increased sales taxes. There still remains, however, a barrier to Pennsylvanians freely purchasing spirits products. A barrier that very recently completely prevented Pennsylvanians from obtaining any spirits product for months. The shutdown of Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores highlighted the stranglehold that the PLCB has on spirits products. This stranglehold not only hurt citizens of the Commonwealth, it financially hurt the Commonwealth itself. The lost sales and tax revenue, combined with the low to negative growth rate of spirits sales, will be a burden the Commonwealth must deal with for the foreseeable future.
Consequently, I intend to introduce legislation that would allow businesses holding an R, H, or D License to sell ready-to-drink cocktails for to-go consumption. Ready-to-drink cocktails, or “RTD” cocktails, are manufactured, pre-packaged beverages containing liquor and mixed products. RTD cocktails are currently offered at Fine Wine & Good Spirits Stores; however, RTDs are merely a minor tertiary offering. Additionally, my legislation will grant distributors the right to source and wholesale RTD cocktails directly to qualifying licensees in the same manner as malt and brewed beverages are sourced and sold today. Removing RTD cocktails from the state-controlled system will support the restaurant industry by allowing them to sell new products, and it will ensure that Pennsylvanians are never prevented from purchasing spirits products in some form in the future.
This legislation will not hurt the PLCB. In fact, this legislation will result in increased revenue to the PLCB in the form of permit application and annual licensing fees, while not disrupting the PLCB’s primary revenue source of liquor and wine sales. The Commonwealth will also see increased sales tax revenue as a result of businesses offering RTD cocktails.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.
Introduced as HB2890