• Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Issues Advisory Opinion Regarding Beer Delivery
  • March 23, 2015 | Author: Theodore J. Zeller
  • Law Firm: Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. A Professional Corporation - Allentown Office
  • On March 11, 2015, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board issued Advisory Notice No. 22, which further detailed the Board’s position on the permissibility of delivery of malt or brewed beverages directly to customers from licensees holding Transporter-for-Hire licenses. The formal Advisory Notice was issued to clarify and expand upon an Advisory Opinion issued by the Board on December 5, 2014 regarding Transporter-for-Hire licensees delivering beer to retail customers. Prior to this recent Advisory Notice and the December 5, 2014 Opinion, the delivery of beer to customers was not permitted with a Retail license. Now, Pennsylvania Retail liquor licensees, including restaurants, grocery stores, pizza shops and other establishments, can deliver beer to their customers if they apply for and obtain a Transporter-for-Hire license and adhere to the guidelines as set forth in the newly-issued Advisory Notice No. 22.

    Advisory Notice No. 22 affects Retail licensees and Transporter-for-Hire licensees. When a Transporter-for-Hire licensee is delivering beer to consumers pursuant to that license, it must follow the following guidelines. First, the licensee cannot accept payment for the malt/brewed beverage at the time of the delivery. The sale must be completed on the Retail licensee’s premises. Therefore, customers who place an order for delivery have to pay for that order by debit or credit card over the phone when making the order. It is not permissible for the customer to pay the delivery person at the time and location of the delivery. Next, Advisory Notice No. 22 states that there are no limits on how much malt brewed beverages a Transporter-for-Hire license can transport, however, a single sale by a Retail licensee cannot exceed 192 ounces (2 six-packs). This is important and consistent with our previous Blog release although not in the original Legal Opinion enabling this new opportunity. Advisory Notice No. 22 also notes that deliveries can occur at any time; however, the actual sales must take place before 2:00 A.M.

    Advisory Notice No. 22 went on to state that while food and non-alcoholic beverages can be included with the delivery of the malt/brewed beverages, such inclusion is not required. Licensees should note, however, that deliveries can only include items that are preordered by a customer, so a licensed transporter cannot use his or her vehicle to sell other items with the alcoholic beverages at the same time. This is a reflection of the Board’s longstanding policy that other products cannot be “hawked or peddled” in the same vehicle at the same time as when making deliveries of alcohol to customers. This means that there can be no attempt to sell additional products from the delivery vehicle to the customer.

    Furthermore, the recent Advisory stated that licensees need to ensure that the delivery person is at least 21 years of age. Additionally, there must be evidence that the driver is an employee or a contractor of the license holder accompanying the driver. The delivery person’s vehicle must also be identified with the Transporter-for-Hire licensee’s name, address, license number, and the licensing identification number, in letters at least two inches tall on each side of the vehicle. Such identifying information may be affixed to the vehicle through a magnetic sign.

    Additionally, the Advisory Notice stated that when the delivery person makes the delivery, he or she is required to check the ID of the person accepting the delivery, and the licensee must maintain records documenting the verification that the individual accepting the delivery is 21 years old. A licensee performing deliveries should put into place a single form that their delivery person can fill out to document that they have verified the age of the customer receiving the delivery. A simple log sheet identifying the delivery and age verification is recommended. The sale and/or delivery of alcohol to someone under the age of 21 years old or visibly intoxicated is a violation of the Liquor Code, and the Retail licensee may be subject to penalties for any such sale. Delivery drivers should be instructed to not deliver the malt/brewed beverage to any individual whom they witness as visibly intoxicated.

    Finally, if an entity holds multiple retail licenses, it need only obtain one Transporter-for-Hire license to cover all of its licensed establishments. There is no need to obtain a separate Transporter-for Hire license for each Retail location.