The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) today began accepting requests for various new licenses and permits authorized under Act 39 of 2016, which becomes effective today. Requests for wine expanded permits, conversions of eating place licenses into restaurant licenses, casino liquor licenses and direct wine shipper licenses may now be submitted through PLCB+, a new online licensing platform introduced earlier this year.
“Since Act 39 was signed into law two months ago, the PLCB has been hard at work developing these new licensing authorities and related business processes,” said Tim Holden, chairman of the board. “We are proud to hit the ground running on the day the law takes effect to begin accepting requests.”
In addition to adding new licensing functionalities to PLCB+, the PLCB has also implemented organizational changes to support a new class of customers – restaurant and hotel licensees, including grocery and convenience stores, interested in obtaining wine expanded permits to authorize the sale of wine to go.
“We have created a new Office of Wholesale Operations that will work directly with larger volume wine permittees so we can anticipate their product needs and make available to them the wines they want to carry in the quantities they demand,” Board Member Mike Negra said. “We have been talking with chain accounts and the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association to ensure we successfully develop this new part of our business collaboratively with our wine-to-go wholesale customers.”
Restaurant and hotel licensees interested in selling large quantities of wine-to-go (more than 20 cases per order from the PLCB) are encouraged to contact the Office of Wholesale Operations at 844-363-WINE (9463) or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the wines and volumes they anticipate buying from the PLCB for wine-to-go resale.
Wine expanded permit holders purchasing smaller amounts of wine may begin selling wine in August, assuming they are selling wine in-stock at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores. Licensees requiring larger quantities of wine or certain products not currently in stock may wait longer to receive those products. The PLCB aims to begin shipping wine from its distribution centers in the October timeframe to the large-volume wine-to-go permittees.
The following permissions and fees are associated with the new license and permit types authorized by Act 39:
• New wine expanded permits allow hotel and restaurant licensees that obtain them to sell up to 3 liters of wine to go per transaction. Wine-to-go sales may take place from 7 AM to 11 PM Monday through Saturday, and during limited hours on Sundays if the licensee also holds a Sunday sales permit. There is a $2,000 application fee for this permit and an annual renewal fee of 2 percent of the cost of wine purchased from the PLCB for off-premises consumption. Additionally, hotel and restaurant licensees must be certified through the Responsible Alcohol Management Program before receiving a wine expanded permit.
Licensees planning to expand the footprint of their licensed premises to accommodate wine-to-go sales can also apply for an extension of premises through PLCB+.
• Holders of eating place licenses, which allow for the sale of malt and brewed beverages but not wine or liquor, may now request to convert their licenses into restaurant licenses, which allow for the sale of beer, wine and liquor. The one-time fee for such a conversion is $30,000. The licensee’s premise must also meet all statutory and regulatory requirements of a restaurant license. Eating place licenses in Philadelphia may not be converted.
• New casino liquor licenses allow for 24/7 alcohol service and permit license holders to provide free drinks to patrons attending invitation-only events. The application fee for a casino liquor license is $1 million. The annual renewal fee is $1 million for each of the first four years, then $250,000 each year thereafter.
• Act 39 eliminates Pennsylvania’s previous direct wine shipper license and replaces it with a new license that allows only wine producers to ship up to 36 cases of wine per year to a Pennsylvania resident for his or her personal use. A $250 application fee applies for the direct wine shipper license, and the license is subject to an annual $250 renewal fee. Wine sold through direct wine shippers is subject to Pennsylvania state and local sales tax and a new $2.50 per gallon wine excise tax.
New licenses for limited wineries and wine producers that were licensed previously as direct wine shippers should be approved in a matter of days, assuming the applicant meets all statutory requirements, passes tax clearances and verifies information required to be provided to the PLCB. As DWS licenses are approved, they will be viewable in the public PLCB+ license search. They will also be accessible through a page on the PLCB website explaining direct wine shipment options for consumers.
Additional details regarding these new license and permit types, as well as other Act 39 changes, are available in the PLCB’s Summary of Act 39 of 2016.
In order to apply for permits or licenses through PLCB+, a licensee or interested party must first register to use the system using an access code provided by the PLCB. Licensees were provided access codes by email and letter earlier this year. Anyone without an access code may email email@example.com to obtain one.
Pending applications and permits and licenses granted by the PLCB may be searched through the public PLCB+ license search.
“Now that Act 39 is in effect, we can begin implementing all its various changes, and we’re working to making wine-to-go sales a reality for Pennsylvania consumers as quickly as possible,” Board Member Michael Newsome said. “The PLCB is excited and eager for this transformation of Pennsylvania’s beverage alcohol industry, and we’re committed to doing it right.”
The PLCB anticipates announcing additional Act 39 changes later this week.
The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates more than 600 wine and spirits stores statewide and licenses more than 20,000 beverage alcohol producers and retailers. The PLCB also works to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking through partnerships with schools, community groups and licensees. Taxes and store profits – totaling more than $14.5 billion since the agency’s inception – are returned to Pennsylvania’s General Fund, which finances Pennsylvania’s schools, health and human services programs and law enforcement and public safety initiatives across the state, among other things. The PLCB also provides financial support for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, other state agencies and local municipalities across the state. For more information about the PLCB, visit http://www.lcb.state.pa.us.
Source: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board