I, and my colleagues in the General Assembly, continue to work on liquor issues in an effort to help consumers by providing for greater access while encouraging the creation of businesses.
This week, the Senate continued to move forward on changes to the Liquor Code that would create a Limited Distillery License. House Bill 242 (HB 242), which was voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, would allow distilleries producing under 100,000 gallons of spirits to sell distilled spirits to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB), other licensees and the general public.
Additionally, HB 242 allows beer distributors to expand their Sunday hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (currently distributors are only allowed to operate on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.) and allows licensees that offer meals to begin serving alcohol at 9 a.m. on Sundays (currently a licensee may only offer alcohol on Sundays beginning at 11 a.m.).
While work continues on this and other Liquor Code bills, the LCB has taken notice and is responding to consumer requests with the start of a new pilot program that allows consumers to purchase select wine and spirits over the Internet and have the products delivered to their homes or businesses. Consumers can visit the LCB’s retail website, www.finewineandgoodspirits.com, to browse a listing of wines and spirits that are available for delivery.
Most of the wines and spirits available for home delivery are not available in LCB Wine & Spirits stores. Certain Chairman Selection products that are available in premium LCB Wine & Spirits stores are made available for home delivery as an added convenience for consumers who do not live near a premium store.
The decision by the LCB to begin this home delivery pilot program was made after the agency determined the necessary infrastructure was in place to meet the needs of consumers. Additionally, the LCB implemented safeguards to ensure minors could not gain access to delivered wine and spirits. The LCB has partnered with United Parcel Service on home and business deliveries. Shipments delivered to homes or businesses require the receiver to provide a valid ID proving that the person is of legal drinking age and requires an adult signature upon receipt.
The goal of the LCB is to provide an added convenience for consumers at the lowest possible cost. Customers ordering between one and three bottles of wine or spirits for home delivery are charged a shipping fee of $14 and for every additional bottle a $1 charge is added. These shipping fees cover the LCB’s costs of service and do not provide a profit. For more information on home delivery service, please visit www.finewineandgoodspirits.com or call 1-800-332-PLCB (1-800-332-7252).
The home delivery pilot program is independent of direct wine shipping which is currently being considered by the Senate. Senate Bill 790 (SB 790) was voted out of the Law and Justice Committee on Nov. 15 and is now before the full Senate. SB 790 provides for greater consumer choice by allowing direct wine shipment to a resident’s home by ordering on the Internet, by telephone or by mail. After receiving a direct wine shipper license, a wine producer could deliver up to 18 liters per month to a consumer, provided that he or she is at least 21 years of age and that the wine is for the resident’s personal use and not for resale.