During the last BOP legal call with General Counsel Ted Zeller, a question was raised regarding whether a brewery is permitted, under the Liquor Code, to transport wine and spirits it has purchased for resale in its brewpub or taproom from the respective winery or distillery back to its brewery premises.
Initially, in Pennsylvania, some licensees are authorized to transport liquor or beer as part of their license. Manufacturers of any type of alcohol are allowed to transport their own product. Beer Distributors and Importing Distributors also are allowed to transport beer. Restaurants are allowed to “pick up” liquor from the State Store.
Additionally, the use of a properly licensed “transporter-for-hire” can be utilized by any licensee to distribute, deliver or transport its products or products that were purchased from another licensee. With the new privileges afforded to breweries under Acts 39 and 166 of 2016, whereby breweries can now sell the products manufactured by Pennsylvania limited wineries, limited distilleries and distilleries and, even, other Pennsylvania breweries, the PLCB has addressed this exact question posed above.
Breweries, and their winery and distillery counterparts, are permitted to transport, distribute and deliver their products in the manner stated above. However, the PLCB has determined that the Liquor Code does not provide a brewery, distillery or winery the privilege of transporting products that it did not manufacture. This means that a brewery, distillery or winery can deliver its products to any licensee that places an order, but those same purchasers cannot come pick-up those products from the manufacturer and transport the products back to its premises. Therefore, under the Liquor Code, if you wish to purchase products from other Pennsylvania manufacturers, the manufacturer you purchase from must deliver those products to you, or either party to the transaction must utilize a properly licensed transporter-for-hire to deliver those products to the final destination. Manufacturers do have the option of obtaining a transporter-for-hire license which would allow that manufacturer to pick up other products for resale back at their premises.
Although the opinion does not address the following issue, we would expect any licensee, including a manufacturer, is allowed to pick up products from a Pennsylvania State Store regardless of whether it has a transporter-for-hire license.