There is some confusion over the passage of Act 166 (which takes effect January 16, 2016) and, in particular, the impact it will have on distributors who deliver malt or brewed beverages. Section 431(b) of the Liquor Code authorizes a distributor to sell and deliver malt or brewed beverages. Thus, a distributor license already allows for the delivery of malt or brewed beverages, and there is no need for a distributor to obtain an additional license or permit to deliver. This has not changed, and the fundamental right of a distributor to deliver still exists.
However, there was language added to Section 431(b) which restricts a distributor from selling or delivering to certain licensees of the PLCB (i.e., tavern, hotels and similar accounts) based upon their “designated geographical area.” We are waiting for the PLCB to clarify how this new term “designated geographical area” will be interpreted, but in all likelihood the new language will restrict distributors from selling or delivering to licensed businesses located in other wholesalers’ franchise territories. Once the PLCB has issued its formal guidance on this new provision, we will disseminate it to our members.
Here are some other rules to keep in mind regarding delivery by distributors:
- Pursuant to section 492(9) of the Liquor Code, distributors are only permitted to deliver or transport malt or brewed beverages in “vehicles bearing the name and address and license number of such licensee painted or affixed on each side of such vehicle in letters no smaller than two inches in height.”
You are permitted to transport and deliver malt or brewed beverages to both retail licensees and non-licensees, such as a home or residence, but the sale must be completed at the distributor’s licensed premises prior to delivery. Thus, the customer cannot pay the delivery person for the malt or brewed beverages at the time of delivery.
According to Section 492.1(b) of the Liquor Code, distributors may deliver malt or brewed beverages between 2:00 a.m. of any Monday and midnight (12:00 a.m.) of the following Saturday to retail licensees. Distributors may deliver malt or brewed beverages between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. of any day, except Sunday, to persons not licensed by the PLCB.
Distributors may, after prior arrangement, deliver malt or brewed beverages to nonlicensees or the holder of a special occasion permit on Sunday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and noon (12:00 p.m.). The term “prior arrangement” means that malt or brewed beverages having a total sale price, excluding any deposits or credits, exceeding $250.00 have been ordered, invoiced and paid for in full at the distributor’s premises before the Sunday of delivery.
It is unlawful for distributors to deliver or transport any malt or brewed beverages in a vehicle in which any other commodity is being transported without first obtaining board approval.