PLCB Authorizes 12-Pack Sales Immediately
On March 6, 2015, the way manufacturers and beer distributors sell malt and brewed beverages in Pennsylvania changed dramatically. Packages such as 12-packs, 15-packs and 18-packs can now legally be sold to and from beer distributors. So long as their total volume is greater than 128 ounces.
While a monumental and exciting change for our industry, this change came by means of an advisory opinion from the PLCB, which itself left many unanswered questions. On March 18, 2015, the PLCB, through its Chief Counsel, issued a letter clarifying some of these issues.
Based upon our reading of the advisory opinion and the PLCB’s March 18, 2015 letter, distributors are legally allowed to sell these new packages in the following manner:
- Distributors can sell existing inventory in smaller packages as long as existing invoices use appropriate terms such as “2/12” or “3/8”, and so long as the smaller packages were packaged as a single connected unit (i.e., in a mother carton or shrink wrapped) by the brewery.
- The manufacturers and IDs do not have to change their invoicing for future deliveries. They can continue to use terms such as “2/12” or “3/8” to evidence their intent without having to specify whether those packages are to be sold separately or together as a single case.
- When appropriate packages are received by manufacturers or IDs, distributors can sell 8-packs (of 16oz.), 12-packs, 15-packs and 18-packs to retail accounts or individual customers, so long as the total package volume exceeds 128 ounces.
- Distributors may sell two 12-packs for the same price as a case as long as the distributor charges the customer its regular prices for such products. For example, a D could offer one 12-pack of Coors Light for $10.00, and two 12-packs of Coors Light for $18.00, as long as those are the regular prices for those particular quantities. The distributor cannot advertise the cost of the larger package as a “discounted” price.
- Cases consisting of 24 loose cans or bottles must continue to be sold as a single case.