Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed H 1690 (Turzai) on June 8, 2016, making the state the 44th to allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) wine shipping and opening up the 12th largest U.S. wine market — and last remaining large state — to DTC shipments. Wineries that obtain a DTC shipping permit will be allowed to ship up to 36 cases annually per consumer at a tax rate of $2.50 per gallon plus applicable local sales taxes. Previous versions of the bill had included higher taxes and restrictive provisions such as a prohibition on shipping wine already in distribution. The law becomes effective in 60 days (August 7) although it will likely take time to create licensing and implement other bill requirements.
H 1690 contains additional provisions permitting hotels and restaurants (including grocery stores with in-store restaurants) to obtain a license to sell up to four bottles of wine per consumer per day for off-premise consumption and allowing Sunday sales at all Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) stores. Currently, Sunday sales are limited to 25% of stores. The bill also allows PLCB to offer flexible pricing on top wine and spirits brands within parameters to be defined and creates a “Commission” that will be responsible for preparing a report for the legislature in six months on potential privatization of the wholesale and retail functions of the PLCB.
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