Act 39, which amended the Liquor Code went into effect August 8, 2016. One purpose of the law is to expand the availability of alcoholic beverages and thus increase the convenience factor for the retail consumer. This increase in the availability of alcoholic beverages also creates new opportunities for licensees. This enlarging of the number of outlets in which to legally obtain alcoholic beverages comes with new regulations however.
One of the new business opportunities for licensees created by Act 39, which amended the Liquor Code is the wine expanded permit, also known as WEP, or a “wine to go permit”. This permit is only available to certain licensees, namely restaurant, hotel, municipal golf course liquor, privately – owned public golf course liquor, airport restaurant liquor, off-track wagering restaurant liquor and the economic development restaurant liquor. Those are the only licenses that qualify for the WEP.
I have previously reviewed some of the WEP requirements in a previous column.
A WEP can be applied for through the PLCB+ online system that the PLCB has started. The PLCB’s specific website for the permit is firstname.lastname@example.org. The application fee for the WEP is $2000.00 and the annual renewal fee is 2 percent of the cost of the wine purchased from the PLCB for off-premises consumption. Note that the 2 percent does not include wine consumed on the licensee’s premises. The licensee must be RAMP certified. The take out wine sales are limited to 3,000 milliliters in a single transaction, which amounts to four 750 milliliters bottles of wine. The sales must be at a designated register, staffed always by a RAMP certified employee. This employee must scan the legally acceptable ID of all patrons who appear to be under 35 years of age.
The WEP holder may not sell the wine at a lower price than the PLCB store. There are also additional requirements, which include the payment of sales tax. The additional requirements can be found on the PLCB’s website.Obviously, this is a complicated process but that is the licensee’s price to become a “mini” PLCB store. However, it is not like mastering brain surgery or rocket science, as that old expression goes.
Licensees interested in obtaining a wine expanded permit (WEP) should become educated as to the requirements. Licensees should consult with their attorney and/or consult with the PLCB regarding information on the permit from the PLCB website.
Licensees must comply with these requirements for the WEP, and must make sure that all of their employees follow through and comply. Any violation of the WEP requirements will result in the probability that the PA State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will issue a citation against the licensee’s valuable license for any violations.