Bill would allow spirits ready-to-drink cocktails to be sold where beer and wine are sold

Members of the Alabamians Ready for Convenience Coalition (ARCC) testified today before the Senate Committee on Economic Development in support of SB 259, a bill allowing spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails to be sold where beer and wine RTD products with similar alcohol-by-volume (ABV) are already sold in Alabama.

“Retailers have heard loud and clear from customers their desire to purchase spirit-based ready-to-drink products in grocery and convenience stores,” said Ellie Taylor, president and CEO of the Alabama Grocers Association. “The retail industry has a long history of selling beverage alcohol in a safe and responsible manner, and it’s time for Alabama to follow the lead of our neighboring states by offering these products in a safe and convenient manner to consumers.”

A recent survey found nearly two-thirds (63%) of Alabamians support allowing licensed retailers to sell spirits ready-to-drink cocktails at the same locations as beer, wine and malt-based RTD cocktails.

“Spirit-based RTDs represent the fastest growing product in this category, and, like their beer- or wine-based counterparts, convenience store retailers are fully capable of making safe sales to legal adult customers,” said Bart Fletcher, president of the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers of Alabama. “By limiting consumers’ access to these products, we’re not only limiting their choices, but also tax revenues to the State of Alabama. It’s time we gave adult Alabamians the choices they want in the locations they desire.”

Under current Alabama law, beer is allowed to be sold in grocery and convenience stores along with wine- and malt-based RTD products, but spirits-based RTD cocktails are required to be sold at a liquor store despite having the same or similar alcohol content. The bill limits the alcohol content of spirits products that can be sold in these retail outlets to 8% ABV.

“Many spirits-based RTD cocktails have the same alcohol content as malt- and wine-based products,” said Corey Staniscia, vice president of state government relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.  “Consumers should not be prohibited from purchasing these popular spirits products where they already purchase other ready-to-drink beverages.”

Adult consumers interested in supporting the effort to make spirits-based RTD cocktails available in retail outlets where beer and wine are available for purchase can sign up at


ARCC is made up of the Alabama Grocers Association, the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association, the Petroleum & Convenience Marketers of Alabama, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Diageo, United-Johnson Brothers of Alabama and Gulf Distributing Holdings.

Alabama Grocers Association

The Alabama Grocers Association is a state trade association representing the grocery retail industry since 1990. With more than 100 retail members operating over 750 stores statewide, as well as over 210 manufacturers, brokers, wholesalers and other members, the AGA is the voice of the industry in the state of Alabama. The food retail industry in Alabama provides over half a million jobs with over $2.5 billion in annual wages paid. Grocers pay over $1.18 billion in state taxes and have a total economic impact on the state’s economy of over $12.1 billion. For more information, visit


The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the leading voice and advocate for distilled spirits in the U.S., advocating on legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues impacting the distilled spirits sector at the local, state, federal and international levels. DISCUS members are committed to responsibility and encourage adults who drink to do so in moderation.


The Petroleum & Convenience Marketers of Alabama

The Petroleum & Convenience Marketers of Alabama (P&CMA) is the statewide trade association representing Alabama’s wholesale and retail petroleum distributors and retail convenience store operators. Originally formed in 1949 as the Alabama Petroleum Marketers Association, P&CMA’s membership is made up of more than 200 active member companies who collectively own, operate and/or supply more than 3,000 retail locations across the state. Our industry employs more than 59,000 Alabamians, conducts more than 3.7 million transactions per day, sells more than 4.4 billion gallons of gasoline annually and collects more than $4 billion annually in tax revenues for governmental entities. For more information, visit