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The recent changes to the Liquor Code has increased the number of the Off Premises Catering Permits that a qualified licensee can obtain in a calendar year from 50 to 52. This obviously is not by any standard a significant increase. However the overall procedural process has been amended to benefit licensees. The PLCB has more discretion when accepting permit applications, and when licensees have to provide notice of the scheduled events.

Previously licensees had to file for the permit by March 1. This was a strict deadline and the PLCB legally could not accept applications past that date. Now the PLCB has the discretion to accept a licensee’s application past the March 1 deadline. So any licensee who has missed the deadline can still apply for the permit. The PLCB filing fee is still the same, $500.00.

Note when licensees do apply for the permit, the application must be filed at least 60 days prior to the licensee’s first scheduled function.

A licensee holding the permit previously had to give 30 days written notice to the PLCB regarding the date of a scheduled catered function. The 30 days has now been reduced to 14 days. This means that licensee’s may schedule a catered event less than 30 days out as long that the licensee gives the PLCB 14 days notice of the event.

Furthermore, the PLCB can now waive the 14 days notice requirement and accept a notice of a catered function from a licensee with a minimum of 7 days written notice but, licensees have to pay a $100.00 late fee.

All off premises catered functions must end at midnight. However there is now an exception for December 31, New Year’s Eve, when the catered function may end at 2:00 am on New Year’s Day.

What has not been changed is that all alcoholic beverages sold at catered events must be consumed on the catered premises. Alcohol sales for consumption off the catered premises are never permitted. This means no take out beer. The Pennsylvania State Police BLCE has authority to issue the licensee a citation for violations of the Liquor Code that occur on the catered premises.

The law and the regulations for off premises catering permits have been relaxed. Maybe in the future the law will be amended to increase the number of yearly catering permits.

Licensees should always consult their attorney or the PLCB about obtaining an off premises catering permit.