Distilled Spirits Council urges governor and legislature to consider consumer-friendly measure

According to an economic analysis conducted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), allowing the sale of distilled spirits from certain r-license holders already able to sell beer and wine could generate $86 million in new taxes and profits for the state in the first year.

DISCUS stated that expanding spirits outlets is a revenue-boosting and consumer-friendly alternative to Governor Wolf’s budget proposal to increase the state income tax.

“Increasing access to distilled spirits will result in more consumer convenience and additional state revenue without increasing taxes on hard-working Pennsylvanians,” said David Wojnar, DISCUS Senior Vice President and Head of State Public Policy. “The budget deficit created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in part by the lost revenue from PLCB closures last March, has put a strain on the Pennsylvania economy. Allowing r-license holders that already sell beer and wine to sell distilled spirits is a commonsense solution to generate much-needed revenue in the commonwealth. We urge Governor Wolf and the legislature to expand spirits outlets in Pennsylvania.”

Pennsylvania currently has 0.65 spirits outlets per 10,000 people, versus a national average of 3.27 spirits outlets per 10,000 people. Pennsylvania also falls short of other control states which average 2.59 spirits outlets per 10,000 people.

DISCUS Economic Analysis

Currently, there are more than 1,200 Wine Expanded Permits (WEP) authorized under Act 39. Introduction of a new Spirits Expanded Permit (SEP) would add critical store capacity in Pennsylvania.

Assuming same case sales per store as WEP, SEPs would yield $220 million in new spirits sales in the first full year of operations. The state would net $86 million in new taxes and profits (18 percent wholesale tax and 6 percent retail sales tax) over the first full year of sales.