Pennsylvania The Pennsylvania legislature is considering a bill, HB 1154, that would expand spirits-based RTD sales to additional retail outlets (i.e., grocery and convenience stores). As in Oregon, these products currently must be sold through Pennsylvania’s control system. The bill was referred to committee in late June 2021.
Washington SB 5049 was considered by the Washington legislature during the 2021 session. The bill, which has the support of the Washington Spirits and Wine Distributors, sought to reduce the state excise taxes applicable to low-alcohol beverages (i.e., a beverage containing less than seven percent ABV, not including wine or malt beverages). The bill also sought to exempt low-alcohol spirits from Washington’s spirits retailer and spirits distributor license issuance fees. The Washington legislature’s legislative session adjourned in April with no action on this bill.
The spirits industry clearly has a long way to go toward equalizing both applicable excise tax rates and distribution channel availability for spiritsbased RTDs. But the fact that many in the industry, and many state legislatures, are focused on these efforts bodes well for the future success of these products.
Beth Hatef is Counsel in the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, based in the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office. A Chambers USA-recognized practitioner, she concentrates her practice on a wide variety of regulatory and distribution issues involving alcohol beverage industry members. Her practice includes counseling on distribution relationships, alcohol regulatory compliance, excise tax compliance, and advising strategic and institutional investors in connection with corporate transactions in the alcohol industry.
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