After a busy few months following the first major overhaul of Pennsylvania's Liquor Code since the end of Prohibition, the state is poised to extend its streak of liquor reform. With the passage of House Bill 1196 by both the House and Senate and Governor Wolf’s acknowledgement that he will sign the bill, another round of convenience measures for consumers and the extension of privileges for licensees both inside and outside Pennsylvania is imminent. The bill’s provisions include the following:

Consumers

  • The ability for consumers to purchase a minimum of one bottle on special liquor order (SLO) without supplier refusal

  • The removal of the requirement of providing a “mug” in order to develop a beer membership club (or “mug club”)

Direct Shipment of Beer

  • Establishing a malt or brewed beverage shipper license to allow out-of-state and foreign brewers, wholesalers and retailers to ship beer directly to Pennsylvania consumers

Retail Licensees

  • The expansion of beer distributor privileges to include the right to sell beer in any amount, including six-packs or growlers

  • The ability for retail licensees to open at 9:00 a.m. without being required to supply a meal

Pennsylvania Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries

  • Allowing breweries (not just those with a brewpub license) to sell wine and cider produced by Pennsylvania wineries, beer produced by other breweries, and liquor

  • Providing that Pennsylvania wineries can produce mead and sell liquor, wine and cider produced by other Pennsylvania wineries, as well as beer

  • Allowing Pennsylvania distilleries to sell wine and cider produced by Pennsylvania wineries, liquor produced by others, and beer

Distribution Channels

  • Further clarification that, going forward, cider and mead will be sold through the state’s beer distribution network rather than the state stores

  • Protection of importing distributors’ rights by prohibiting distributors from selling to licensees in their designated territories

Miscellaneous

  • The redefinition of “alcoholic cider” to match the federal standards

  • Relaxing the ownership restrictions to allow retail licensees to have an interest in a distillery

  • Recognition that 10 percent or less of an interest in a retail license does not constitute financial interest