Frequently Asked Questions
Payment for Beer Purchases
What forms of payment may licensees accept for beer purchased by other licensees?
Distributors and importing distributors CAN accept the following as payment for malt or brewed beverages if the buyer is licensed by the PLCB:
- A check or certified check if the payor of the check is the licensed entity purchasing the malt or brewed beverages and the payee of the check is the distributor or importing distributor selling the malt or brewed beverages.
- Cashier’s check.
- Money Order.
- Credit Card.
- Debit Card.
- Electronic Transfer of Funds so long as the transfer occurs prior to delivery.
- Prepayment in cash so long as it occurs prior to delivery.
Distributors and importing distributors CANNOT accept the following as payment for malt or brewed beverages if the buyer is licensed by the PLCB:
- Cash on delivery.
- A check or certified check if the payor is someone other than the licensed entity purchasing the malt or brewed beverages or if the payee is someone other than the distributor or importing distributor selling the malt or brewed beverages
What forms of payment may licensees accept for beer purchased by non-licensees?
It is permissible for distributors that are selling malt or brewed beverages to a non-licensed individual or entity to accept cash, checks, money orders, credit cards, gift certificates or debit cards as payment, so long as the payment is received on the licensed premises prior to delivery of the alcohol. It would not be permissible for the non-licensed customer to pay the delivery person for the malt or brewed beverages at the time of delivery, in any payment form whatsoever.
Sale and Delivery of Beer
When may Importing Distributors (ID) and Distributors (D) sell beer?
To non-licensees –
ID’s and D’s may sell beer Monday through Saturday from 8 a. m. to 11 p.m.
ID’s and D’s who purchase a Sunday Sales Permit from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) may sell beer on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
To special occasion permit holders –
ID’s and D’s may sell beer from 2 a.m. Monday until 12 midnight of the following Saturday. ID’s and D’s who purchase a Sunday Sales Permit from the PLCB may sell beer on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
To other licensees and permit holders –
ID’s and D’s may sell beer from 2 a.m. Monday until 12 midnight of the following Saturday.
ID’s and D’s may not sell beer to other licensees or permit holders on Sunday.
When may Importing Distributors (ID) and Distributors (D) deliver beer?
To non-licensees –
ID’s and D’s may deliver beer Monday through Saturday from 8 a. m. to 11 p.m.
ID’s and D’s may deliver beer on Sunday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 noon by “prior arrangement.” Prior arrangement means that the sale price of the beer must be more than $250 and have been ordered, invoiced and paid for in full at the seller’s licensed premises before the Sunday of delivery. No Sunday Sales Permit is needed to deliver beer to non-licensees by prior arrangement on Sunday.
To special occasion permit holders –
ID’s and D’s may deliver beer to permit holders from 2 a.m. Monday until 12 midnight of the following Saturday, and on Sunday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 noon by “prior arrangement” as explained above.
To other licensees and permit holders –
ID’s and D’s may deliver beer from 2 a.m. Monday until 12 midnight of the following Saturday. ID’s and D’s may not deliver beer to other licensees on Sunday.
What items other than beer are we permitted to sell?
Pease read PLCB Advisory #9 (pdf) for more information.
What about home deliveries?
Read about Home Deliveries (Doc)
May ID’s and D’s advertise beer prices?
Yes, but there are some restrictions as set forth in Section 498 of the Liquor Code.
Ads setting forth price may not contain any statement that is false, deceptive or misleading; any statement disparaging of a competitor’s product; any statement referring to monetary comparison between brands; and prices advertised on the licensed premises must be those in effect at the time of the ad or display.
There are also other restrictions that apply to ads for alcoholic beverages in general at Section 498, and further explained in PLCB Advisory Notice #15. By Advisory Opinions #234 of 2007 and #009 of 2006 the Office of the Chief Counsel has found acceptable distributor ads stating the distributor would “match” the prices listed in any other distributor’s print ad within a certain geographic area.
Must an established price be maintained for any specific length of time?
No. At one time there was a “180 day rule” that required prices, once set, be maintained for at least 180 days. That requirement was struck down by court decision over 10 years ago.
Age of Employees
What is the minimum age requirement to be an employee of an ID or D?
In general, the minimum age requirement is 18 years, and there is no exception for family members or temporary employees.
PLCB Regulation 5.14 does recognize that a 17 year old who is a high school graduate or who is declared to have attained his academic potential by the chief administrator of the school district within which the minor resides is deemed to be an 18 year old for the purposes of employment by wholesale licensees such as ID’s and D’s.
However, when employing such individuals ID’s and D’s must keep, on the licensed premises, a certified copy of the diploma or certificate of graduation, or a letter on the official stationery of the school district and over the signature of the chief administrator of that district declaring that he/she has attained his/her academic potential.
Items for Sale in Addition to Beer
What items can distributors sell in addition to beer?
The items distributors may sell are listed in PLCB Advisory Notice No. 9 (4th Revision). Notice No. 9 can be accessed through the PLCB web site. In addition to those items, the PLCB has historically granted approval for distributors to sell certain additional items including the following: fishing bait and tackle; bundled firewood; convenience packages of aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil or other over-the-counter hangover relief medication; lemons, limes and oranges for drink garnishes; charcoal; Christmas trees; home draft brew kits and accessories; liquid propane tanks for sale or exchange (propane cylinders must be stored outdoors); lids for plastic and paper cups; and bottle and can openers (with or without beer logos, that can be attached to key chains, magnets or belt buckles). To sell any other items, distributors must make a written request to the PLCB and obtain Board permission.
Loyalty Card Programs
May Distributors offer a loyalty card program where customers receive a gift certificate or other reward based upon the purchase of beer?
No. The PLCB considers such a program to be an inducement to purchase the beer. However, if the reward is based on the purchase of non-beer items sold by Distributors the program is allowed.
May Distributors conduct sweepstakes drawings on their licensed premises?
Yes. So long as the following conditions are met: (a) No purchase is necessary to enter; (b) Entrants shall be 21 years of age or older; (c) Alcoholic beverages may not be part of the prize. Licensees other than D and ID are directed to PLCB Regulation 5.32 for other requirements applicable to them.
Distributors are Reminded (Displays and Shelves)
Placing of product on a D, ID or E’s floor is not considered a thing of value or the equivalent of money. However, other conduct that would amount to the filling [of shelves] or building displays on a sales floor including proposed package assembly is prohibited.
What is a Sampling Promotion?
A sampling promotion is intended to introduce consumers to a manufacturer’s product and must meet the following requirements: (a) Samples may be provided by the manufacturer’s representatives and D or ID licensees to licensed and unlicensed customers; (2) Samples must be in unopened containers of the smallest commercially available size; (3) Providing of samples cannot be conditioned upon any purchase requirement; Samples may not be opened or consumed on D or ID licensed premises; and (5) Samples are limited to one container per patron in any offering.
When conducting a sampling, Distributors should also be aware of “open container” ordinances or laws. State law forbids persons in motor vehicles from having an open container of any alcoholic beverage or to consume same while the vehicle is on a highway. There may also be local municipal ordinances which prohibit an individual from having such an open container in a public area of any kind. Such ordinances vary from place to place and Distributors are advised to contact private counsel or local law enforcement to determine what “open container” ordinances may apply.
Sampling Promotions differ from Tasting Events and care should be taken to meet the requirements of each. See the Tastings category for further information.
What are Product Tastings?
Product Tastings are conducted for market research and for the purpose of educating consumers as to the quality and availability of malt or brewed beverages. Product Tastings may be conducted by licensed brokers, D and ID licensees, or manufacturers or their agents, upon D and ID licensed premises, so long as the following requirements are met: (a) Products used shall be legally procured and properly registered and taxes on the products shall be paid; (b) Purchase requirements may not be associated with the tasting; (3) No more than one standard-size alcoholic beverage of each product shall be provided to each tasting participant. For the purposes of malt or brewed beverages, a standard size is 12 fluid ounces. Be aware that the Liquor Code prohibits the consumption of beer while serving beer and it is the individual employee of the D or ID serving patrons while consuming beer who would be cited for a violation of the Liquor Code.
Distributors are also advised to review their business insurance policies to insure that they have liquor liability coverage if they intend to conduct Product Tastings on licensed premises.
Tastings are different from Samplings. See the Samplings category for information about Samplings.
Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania
230 South Broad Street, Suite 903, Philadelphia, PA 19102 | 215-732-6258 (p) 215-732-6023 (f) | email@example.com