Bill would increase consumer convenience by allowing low ABV ready-to-drink spirits products to be sold alongside beer and wine products with same alcohol content

Today, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 688, sponsored by Senator Mike Regan, which would allow low alcohol-by-volume (ABV) spirits ready-to-drink cocktails (RTDs) to be sold from certain retail outlets that already sell beer and wine products. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

A survey showed consumers support greater access to these products, including in grocery and convenience stores, with 86 percent agreeing that spirits RTDs should be sold where beer and wine are available for purchase.

“This is a great first step in providing increased consumer convenience in Pennsylvania,” said Andy Deloney, senior vice president of state government relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “This bill will create additional retail opportunities for consumers looking to purchase popular spirits ready-to-drink cocktails where they already get beer and wine products. We applaud Senator Regan for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with members in the House and other key stakeholders to move this business- and consumer-friendly measure forward.”

Despite having the exact same alcohol content as beer- and wine-based canned cocktails, spirits RTDs are at a more than 10,000 store disadvantage in the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania is one of many states taking a closer look at this issue to ensure that producers of spirits-based RTDs are being treated fairly, recognizing that treating beverages differently based on the myth that some alcohol is “softer” than others sends a dangerous message to consumers.