PA 15-24—sSB 386

General Law Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR

SUMMARY: This act makes several unrelated changes in the Liquor Control Act. It:

1. bans powdered alcohol;

2. extends the hours during which a bowling establishment permittee may sell alcohol outside of its bar area by allowing alcohol sales in the bowling alley area after 11: 00 a. m. , rather than after 2: 00 p. m. ;

3. generally allows anyone at least age 16, rather than age 18, to be employed by businesses holding an alcoholic permit;

4. (a) limits licensed farm wineries that offer tastings of free wine or brandy samples to dispensing such samples out of bottles or containers that hold up to two gallons and (b) allows wineries to sell on their premises brandy manufactured from Connecticut-harvested fruit and distilled in-state but off the premises;

5. (a) allows manufacturer permittees who produce less than 25,000 gallons to sell alcoholic liquor at retail, (b) limits wholesale distribution to manufacturer permittees who sell less than 10,000 gallons a year, (c) eliminates a manufacturer permittee's ability to obtain a wholesaler permit, and (d) changes certain tasting requirements;

6. allows cider manufacturer permittees to offer free samples of cider and apple wine;

7. requires certain manufacturer permittees to offer nonalcoholic beverages;

8. allows package stores to sell cigars; and

9. creates a farmers' market beer sales permit.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage; except July 1, 2015 for the bowling alley, farm winery dispensing, and nonalcoholic drink provisions; and October 1, 2015 for the powdered alcohol ban.

BANNING POWDERED ALCOHOL

The act bans anyone from knowingly purchasing, possessing, or selling powdered alcohol. Powdered alcohol means molecularly encapsulated alcohol in powdered form that may be used in such form or reconstituted as an alcoholic beverage.

Anyone who knowingly (1) purchases or possesses powdered alcohol is subject to a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for subsequent offenses or (2) sells powdered alcohol is subject to a $250 fine for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

AGE 16 AND 17 TO WORK IN BUSINESSES WITH ALCOHOLIC PERMITS

The act allows 16- and 17-year-olds to be employed by businesses holding an alcoholic permit. Prior law generally required employees in such establishments to be over age 18. By law, businesses with a grocery store beer permit may employ those age 15 or older. The act also prohibits employees under age 18, including those employed by a business with a grocery store beer permit, from serving or selling alcoholic liquor.

ALCOHOLIC MANUFACTURER PERMIT

Retail Sales for Off-premises Consumption

The act allows manufacturer permittees that produce less than 25,000 gallons of alcoholic liquor in a calendar year to sell, at retail, their alcoholic liquor on their premises for off-premises consumption.

The alcohol must be in sealed bottles or other containers. Permittees must not sell to any individual more than (1) 1. 5 liters of alcoholic liquor per day or (2) five gallons in a two-month period.

Retail sales are allowed only during the allowable hours for alcohol sales for off-premises consumption. (PA 15-244, 82, effective July 1, 2015, extended the hours for off-premises alcohol sales by one hour: Sundays from 10: 00 a. m. to 6: 00 p. m. , rather than 5: 00 p. m. , and any other day from 8: 00 a. m. to 10: 00 p. m. , rather than 9: 00 p. m. ) By law, off-premises sale and dispensing of alcohol are prohibited on Thanksgiving Day, New Year's Day, and Christmas Day.

Wholesale Distribution

Under prior law, manufacturer permittees could distribute their own product at wholesale to retailers. The act limits this ability to manufacturers, either alone or in combination with any parent or subsidiary business or related or affiliated party, that sell 10,000 gallons or less in a calendar year.

The act eliminates manufacturer permittees' ability to apply for and obtain a wholesaler permit, which allows them to distribute other alcohol permittees' products.

Tastings

Prior law allowed manufacturer permittees to offer free tastings of up to 0. 5 ounces per person. The act instead limits tastings to two ounces per person per day.

CIDER TASTING

The act allows manufacturer permittees for cider to offer free on-premises samples of cider and apple wine manufactured on-premises. The cider manufacturers may limit these tastings to visitors who have taken a tour of the premises.

The tastings must not be more than two ounces per patron and may only be conducted on the premises between (1) 10: 00 a. m. and 8: 00 p. m. Monday through Saturday and (2) 11: 00 a. m. and 8: 00 p. m. on Sunday. Permittees must not offer or allow tastings by any minor or intoxicated person. By law, any permittee that sells or delivers alcoholic liquor to a minor or drunkard may be subject to a maximum civil fine of $1,000 and a criminal penalty of up to a $1,000 fine, up to one year imprisonment, or both (CGS 30-86 & 30-113).

NONALCOHOLIC DRINKS

The act requires manufacturer permittees for beer, cider, apple brandy and eau-de-vie, farm wineries, brewpubs, and beer and brew pubs, or their agents, to offer either (1) free potable water to anyone who requests it or (2) nonalcoholic beverages for sale. They are only required to provide these nonalcoholic beverages during hours alcoholic liquor may be sold for on-premises consumption. By law, alcohol sales for on-premises consumption are allowed between 9: 00 a. m.  and 1: 00 a. m.  the next morning on Monday through Thursday, 9: 00 a. m.  and 2: 00 a. m.  the next morning for Friday and Saturday, and 11: 00 a. m.  and 1: 00 a. m.  the next morning on Sunday (CGS 30-91(a)).

The potable water must meet all federal and state requirements for drinking water purity and be served in a container that holds at least six ounces. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) may suspend, revoke, or refuse to grant or renew an alcoholic permit if DCP has reasonable cause to believe the permittee violated any portion of the act's nonalcoholic drink requirements.

FARMERS' MARKET BEER SALES PERMIT

The act creates a farmers' market beer sales permit that allows manufacturer permittees for beer, brewpubs, and beer and brewpubs, to sell beer they manufacture at up to three farmers' market locations a year for an unlimited number of appearances. The act requires the DCP commissioner to issue such manufacturer permittees a farmers' market beer sales permit. The permit is valid for one year and requires a $250 annual fee, with a $100 nonrefundable filing fee.

In order to sell at a farmers' market, the permittee must (1) have an invitation from the farmers' market; (2) sell only sealed bottles of beer for off-premises consumption; and (3) be present, or have an authorized representative present, anytime beer is sold. The permittee may only sell up to five liters of beer per day to any one person.

Any town or municipality may, by ordinance or zoning regulation, prohibit a farmers' market beer sales permittee from selling beer at a farmers' market held in such town or municipality.

(PA 15-30 allows beer, brewpub, and beer and brewpub manufacturer permittees to also hold a farmers' market beer sales permit. )

OLR Tracking: DC: LH: VR: bs