Bill moves to Assembly for consideration

Today, the California Senate unanimously passed SB 277, a commonsense measure to increase adult consumer access to popular spirits ready-to-drink cocktails (RTDs) in the marketplace. The bill now moves to the Assembly for consideration.

“Right now, these low alcohol spirits products are much harder to get in California than their beer and wine counterparts, which makes no sense given they have the same alcohol content,” said Adam Smith, vice president of state government relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). “There is strong consumer demand for these spirits ready-to-drink cocktails, but consumers can’t buy them everywhere they buy other alcohol products. SB 277 helps modernize the state’s alcohol licensing structure to bring California consumers greater shopping convenience. We urge the Assembly to pass this consumer-friendly bill and send it to the governor’s desk for signature.”

A recent DISCUS survey found 86 percent of adult consumers want to purchase spirits RTDs where they already buy beer and wine RTDs. However, grocery and convenience stores need a unique and expensive license to carry spirits RTDs, even though they have the same alcohol content as their beer- and wine-based counterparts. In California, beer- and wine-based RTDs are sold in more than 28,000 locations, while spirits RTDs are only sold in about 14,000 locations. The proposed bill helps correct this disparity by allowing spirits RTDs to be sold under the same license used for beer and wine, uplifting thousands of local businesses.

“There is absolutely no difference in the alcohol content of a five percent ABV beer-, wine- or spirits-based RTD,” said Smith. “There is no reason to treat these products differently.”

The distilled spirits industry supports more than 143,000 jobs in the state generating more than $16.67 billion in state economic activity each year. Greater access to spirits RTDs will allow the industry to contribute even more and could generate as much as $60 million in additional excise tax revenue for the state, according to a DISCUS economic analysis.