March 29, 2013
 
 
Richard E. Skawinski
Beverage Law LLC
120 Ravencrest Drive
Stratford, CT 06614

 RE:  Seagram’s Escapes Mail-in Rebate (Revised)
 
Dear Mr. Skawinski:
 
ISSUE:  This correspondence is in response to your e-mail of March 14, 2013, wherein you request approval on behalf of your client, High Falls Operating Co., LLC d/b/a The Seagram Beverage Company, to run a mail-in rebate promotion in Pennsylvania.  Through the promotion, consumers can receive five dollars ($5.00) off the purchase of one (1) twelve (12)-pack variety or three (3) four (4)-packs of Seagram’s Escapes.  The promotion is scheduled to run from April 1, 2013 to September 3, 2013.  To receive the rebate, consumers must mail the completed mail-in rebate offer form, along with the original cash register receipt (with the qualifying purchases circled) and the original UPC code(s), to the address specified on the form.  The rebate is available only to legal residents of certain states, including Pennsylvania, who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older, and there is no limit on the number of rebates per transaction or household. 
 
This office previously reviewed the proposed mail-in rebate promotion and concluded that it would not be permissible to conduct the same anywhere within the Commonwealth in Advisory Opinion No. 13-138, which was issued March 26, 2013.  At that time, it was the understanding of this office that the mail-in rebate pertained to the malt-based product, “Seagram’s Escapes,” which is commonly sold for off-premises consumption by distributor and importing distributor licensees, as well as certain retail licensees, in Pennsylvania.  Notably, these entities are only permitted to sell “malt or brewed beverages” for off-premises consumption.  Based on this understanding, this office analyzed the proposed promotion using the laws applicable to mail-in rebates on “malt or brewed beverages,” which only permit such rebates on purchases of case quantities, as defined by the Liquor Code, at distributor and importing distributor licensed premises.
 
However, you subsequently contacted this office on March 27, 2013 and explained that your client manufactures both a malt-based and a wine-based product line under the brand name “Seagram’s Escapes,” for which you provided sample labels to support.  You further explained that the proposed mail-in rebate promotion would only be available on wine-based Seagram’s Escapes products in Pennsylvania.  You also indicated that particular attention would be given to the receipt and UPC code materials submitted by Pennsylvania consumers to ensure that rebates are not provided on malt-based Seagram’s Escapes products for this promotion.
 
OPINION:  This office has again reviewed the proposed promotion in light of the additional explanation that you provided.  As you are already aware, while section 493(24)(i) of the Liquor Code generally prohibits licensees from offering anything of value to induce directly the purchase of alcoholic beverages, it does allow manufacturers and agents of manufactures to offer monetary rebates on purchases of wines and spirits through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s (“Board”) wine and spirits stores.  [47 P.S. § 4-493(24)(i)].  Moreover, as you are also aware, the Liquor Code does not impose any sort of case quantity restriction on sales of wine or spirits products at the Board’s wine and spirits stores.  Therefore, it is permissible for your client to conduct the proposed mail-in rebate promotion on wine-based Seagram’s Escapes four (4)-packs and twelve (12)-packs in the Commonwealth in reference to the area checked below:
 
      
retail licensed premises.
      
distributor licensed premises.
      
both retail and distributor licensed premises.
 X  
the Board’s wine and spirit stores, subject to approval of the Bureau of Product Selection.
      
other – Internet, text messaging.
 
Please be advised that prior approval of malt or brewed beverages point-of-sale (“POS”) material and prior approval of retail licensed premises POS material are no longer required.  However, the requirement for prior approval of POS material intended for use in the Board’s wine and spirits stores from the Bureau of Product Selection remains.  The total cost of all POS advertising material relating to any one (1) manufacturer at any one time may not exceed three hundred dollars ($300.00) on a retail licensed premises.  [47 P.S. § 4-493(20)(i)]
 
THIS OPINION APPLIES ONLY TO THE FACTUAL SITUATION DESCRIBED HEREIN AND DOES NOT INSULATE THE LICENSEE OR OTHERS FROM CONSEQUENCES OF CONDUCT OCCURRING PRIOR TO ITS ISSUANCE.  THE PROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED CONDUCT HAS BEEN ADDRESSED ONLY UNDER THE LIQUOR CODE AND REGULATIONS.  THE LAWS AND POLICIES ON WHICH THIS OPINION IS BASED ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BY THE LEGISLATURE OR THE PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD.
 
Very truly yours,
 
 
 
FAITH S. DIEHL
CHIEF COUNSEL
 
cc:        Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement
            James Short, Director of Marketing
            Timothy Fringer, Bureau of Product Selection
            Michelle Bonsick, Bureau of Marketing Communications,
                        Branding & Design
 
 
             
LCB Advisory Opinion No. 13-150


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mailing Date: March 26, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAX:
717-787-8820


Richard E. Skawinski
Beverage Law LLC
120 Ravencrest Drive
Stratford, CT 06614
VIA E-MAIL:  rick@alcoholbeveragelaw.com

 

RE:  Seagram’s Escapes Mail-in Rebate

 
Dear Mr. Skawinski:
 
ISSUE:  This correspondence is in response to your e-mail of March 14, 2013, wherein you request approval, on behalf of High Falls Operating Co., LLC d/b/a The Seagram Beverage Company, to run a mail-in rebate promotion in Pennsylvania.  Through the promotion, consumers can receive five dollars ($5.00) off the purchase of one (1) twelve (12)-pack variety or three (3) four (4)-packs of Seagram’s Escapes.  The promotion is scheduled to run from April 1, 2013 to September 3, 2013.  To receive the rebate, consumers must mail the completed mail-in rebate offer form, along with the original cash register receipt with the qualifying purchases circled) and the original UPC code(s), to the address specified on the form.  The rebate is available only to legal residents of certain states, including Pennsylvania, who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older, and there is no limit on the number of rebates per transaction or household. 
 
OPINION:  This office has reviewed the proposed promotions and accompanying point-of-sale (“POS”) materials and has determined that they do not comport with applicable liquor laws and regulations, specifically subsection 493(24)(i) of the Liquor Code, and are not acceptable for use in this Commonwealth.  [47 P.S. § 4-493(24)(i)].
 
Section 493(24)(i) of the Liquor Code generally prohibits licensees from offering anything of value to induce directly the purchase of alcoholic beverages.  [Id.].  However, section 493(24)(i) does allow for manufacturers and agents of manufactures to offer monetary rebates on purchases of wines and spirits through State Liquor Stores or purchases of malt or brewed beverages through distributors and importing distributors.  [Id.].
 
Nevertheless, the mail-in rebates on malt or brewed beverages are permissible only if those products are purchased on distributor or importing distributor premises, and those types of licensees must sell by the case.  A “case” is defined as a package prepared by the manufacturer for sale or distribution of twelve (12) or more original containers totaling two hundred sixty-four (264) or more fluid ounces of malt or brewed beverages, excepting those packages containing twenty-four (24) or more original containers each holding seven (7) fluid ounces or more.  [47 P.S. § 1-102].
 
Here, the mail-in rebate that you propose indicates it is only redeemable on the purchase of three (3) four (4)-packs or one (1) twelve (12)-pack.  Further, although the POS materials that you provided do not specifically indicate the volume that each bottle held within the four (4)-packs or twelve (12)-packs will contain, it appears from the image set forth on such POS materials that both packages will contain twelve (12)-ounce bottles.  Consequently, neither of the packages on which the mail-in rebate is being offered would meet the definition of a “case” under the Liquor Code.  Therefore, it is not permissible to conduct the proposed mail-in rebate promotion anywhere within the Commonwealth.
 
THIS OPINION APPLIES ONLY TO THE FACTUAL SITUATION DESCRIBED HEREIN AND DOES NOT INSULATE THE LICENSEE OR OTHERS FROM CONSEQUENCES OF CONDUCT OCCURRING PRIOR TO ITS ISSUANCE.  THE PROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED CONDUCT HAS BEEN ADDRESSED ONLY UNDER THE LIQUOR CODE AND REGULATIONS.  THE LAWS AND POLICIES ON WHICH THIS OPINION IS BASED ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BY THE LEGISLATURE OR THE PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD.
 
Very truly yours,
 
 
 
FAITH S. DIEHL
CHIEF COUNSEL
 
cc:      Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement
 
           
LCB Advisory Opinion No. 13-138

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