Alcohol Control Board discusses ‘proactive’ rationing

By Christen Smith | The central square

The Fine Wine and Good Spirits store in Fairless Hills.
Credit: Tom Sofield /

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said its recent decision to ration sales of certain products was “proactive” as supply chain disruptions will continue “until 2022”.

“Under normal circumstances, there would be very little difference between expected demand and supply received,” PLCB Chairman Tim Holden said on Wednesday at a joint House and Senate hearing. “We have proactively decided to institute preventive bottle limits to distribute the product fairly and minimize stockouts. ”

The board of directors limited sales on September 17 to two bottles per customer for 43 products, including Hennessy, Don Julio and Jack Daniels. The rule affected retail and licensee sales, with the latter seemingly agreeing that the policy was an inevitable consequence of supply chain problems associated with the pandemic.

“They knew something had to be done,” Holden said. “They were going to the stores regularly and not getting any products, so they had to realize that something had to be done.”

David Wojnar, senior vice president and head of public policy for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, told lawmakers rationing “seems reasonable” because it discourages hoarding of products.

Nonetheless, he said, the PLCB could waive the out-of-stock fees normally imposed on licensees and focus on legislation that expands sales of canned cocktails to help the industry continue to cope with the challenges. challenges of the pandemic.

Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to allow the sale of beverages, known as ready-to-drink cocktails, beyond the state store system to no avail in June.

Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, did not support the measure because it was not designed specifically for R and H licensees – restaurants, bars, taverns and hotels – and would give an edge. unfair to beer vending machines, just like previous liquor upgrade bills.

Instead, he pointed to other pending laws that would increase subsidy funding, relax outdoor seating regulations and lower liquor prices to better help small business taverns and restaurants.

“The evolving situation with the availability of alcohol is another thing the industry must overcome in the aftermath of the pandemic while waiting for the aid promised before the budget is passed,” Moran said. “Between the lack of manpower to the shortages, as well as the rising prices of available supplies, the difficulties for the industry continue.”

The Independent Tax Office said in April that the hospitality and leisure sector had suffered a disproportionate amount of job losses throughout the pandemic as the administration’s mitigation measures targeted their operations as sources. community spread.

IFO executive director Matthew Knittel said the sector’s workforce has shrunk by 26.3% in the past year, compared to 5.4% in all other industries. Revenues also fell 55.1% for the sector compared to just 32.6% for all others.

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