New Rules in 2013 for alcohol beverage gift packs

Don’t you love the holiday gift packs with the cool decanters, shot glasses and wine glasses? I admit it, I am a “promo queen” whether at the make-up counter or liquor store. I like that little something extra with my product, whether it is a tote bag or a pair of wine glasses.

In 2013, the SLA will be revisiting its 13 year old policy concerning combo packs of several bottles of alcohol or of alcoholic beverages and promotional or other food items. The policy is to clarify what wholesalers and distributers can prepackage as “gift packs” to sell to retailers (liquor stores). The proposed rules being considered for these pre-wrapped, sealed packages require that the bottle of alcohol product must be available separately (not sold only in the combo pack or gift pack). The rules also prohibit potable or edible products in the prepackage combo packs. A manufacturer or wholesaler cannot include edible items, however, retailers can make up gift baskets with other food items for sale at their retail store.

The combo pack price must be higher than the price of the separate bottle of alcohol and the combo packs must be available to all retailers, not reserved for certain customers. For combo packs with different bottles of wine or liquor, the price of the combo pack cannot be less than the sum of the lowest prices for all bottles individually, and there cannot be an added cost for the combo packaging. There can be no more than 12 liters in a single combo pack.

These rules do not seem to be changing, only clarifying the requirements for a better understanding and compliance by manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

All new rules raise question for “users” as they are clarified through practice with each new and unique situation. And all rules have exceptions. Working with an experienced liquor license attorney can help you navigate these complex rules and keep your business in full compliance with state and federal liquor laws.