Monday, August 8, 2016

It's The Big Day! Er...isn't it?

It's August 8th, the day the "epic changes" take place in Pennsylvania booze law! So...what exactly did we get? We didn't get privatization, that's for sure; in fact, we more than likely got a reprieve in the life of the PLCB, Lets look at what people think and the reality of Act 39.

We're going to get wine in grocery stores! 
Sort of. The PLCB will start issuing licenses for that, supposedly today but odds are you won't see wine in your grocery store. Why? Because most stores won't qualify for the idiocy of separate entrances, cashiers, and 30 seat cafes, or they won't be able to afford to make those changes or to even buy a license. Less than 20% of grocery stores will.

But we still get direct wine shipping!

True, even though it took a decade for the state to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court Granholm ruling, although the PLCB could have easily issued an "opinion," like they did with 12 packs, or beer at gas stations, or having more than the legal amount of stores open on Sunday, or killing off delivery services, or any of the other things they did without legislative approval. The question is, how many wineries will pay the $250 fee? The answer is likely under 5% of wineries in the U.S. alone, and maybe 1% of all in the world.

Woo-hoo, we can drink all night at the Casino!

No. There are twelve casinos in Pennsylvania, that's true, but NONE, not one, have expressed any interest in paying the state $1,000,000 so they can serve you a cocktail between 2 AM and 6 AM. Shocking, right? 

But won't we have more places to have wine with dinner? 
True, if the mom & pop joint or single proprietor can afford the $30 grand, and they aren't in Philly, the city with the largest population and the most "E" licenses. Remember the lesson we all just learned again: All animals are equal, but some are more equal that others - just like giving special rules for the DNC. 

To explain: here's the actual listing by the PLCB:

If a municipality is "wet” for liquor (allows for the issuance or transfer of restaurant liquor licenses). Act 39 allows an eating place retail dispenser (E license) to convert its license to a restaurant liquor license (R license), without regard to the quota. The fee for such a conversion is for $30,000. However, the E license cannot be converted if there is currently a pending objection by Licensing or if the E license is located in Philadelphia.

Did you get that? No, did you? Let's find a lawyer...a drunk one.
Hey, if we like a bottle at a craft distillery, we can buy it and take it home! 
Maybe. While Act 39 permits distilleries to sell wine and malt or brewed beverages for on-premises consumption, provided that the wine and malt or brewed beverages are produced by licensed limited wineries and licensed also states that Act 39 prohibits distilleries from selling products or substantially similar products listed for sale by the PLCB, at a lower price than that charged by the PLCB  This includes sales to licensees.

So what would that be? Bourbon, Rye, Vodka, Gin, Cordials and just about everything else except for maybe White Dog and blended American Malt Whiskey. Makes perfect sense

We still have SLO for those special bottles!

Like the Craft Distillery above the answer is maybe.  The PLCB says "The PLCB is permitted to refuse to process, or prohibit the processing of, SLOs for items that are substantially similar to items that appear on its monthly price lists, or if the PLCB believes demand for the items warrants them being made available generally. The PLCB has the discretion to determine the amount and manner for which any such item will be made available." So if you are ordering a bottle of wine they can say - "We sell wine all the time and you don't need that one" Or because they are slow to catch on. "That bottle you  wanted is really popular and we'll have it in our stores in 6 months so you don't need it now" Even if it is on the SLO list THEY provide. Customer service like that is available only in PA.
The trade off is now they will cost a little less since the markup has gone from 30% to 10% if you are allowed to get it at all..

Aren't they finally going to deliver?
Not exactly. The PLCB will allow delivery, which is good if you need something next month and not next week. Here are the hoops you need to jump through. First, you have to have an importer's license or vendor's permit. Second, the PLCB has to approve of the product. Third, the item ordered must be at an "authorized place of storage." Fourth, you have to order and pay for the product in full before it is released. No credit here! Fifth, the product can then be delivered by a licensed carrier with the possibility of a delivery fee attached. Pretty easy, and definitely worth waiting for!!!!

Jeez. Can the craft Distilleries at least sell hard cider?!

Depends. If you are a holder of a Limited Distillery license, you CAN'T sell hard cider on-premise. However, if you are having a “alcoholic cider, liquor and food exposition” of Pennsylvania products either indoors or outdoors on your property - then you can. Makes perfect sense. Distillers are probably lining up for those now.

There's more, but you get the idea. McIlhinney's Mistake isn't all it's cracked up to be. That's because once again, it's what the Powers in Harrisburg will let us have, not what we -- or anyone in the industry -- wanted.  The easiest way to fix this and all the other inanity of the current and (future PLCB) system it to wipe it clean and start again.  

Privatize. It's simple...because it's really that simple.

(This is day 39 without PLCB financials)

1 comment:

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