March 29, 2013
Richard E. Skawinski
Beverage Law LLC
120 Ravencrest Drive
Stratford, CT 06614
VIA E-MAIL: email@example.com
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:
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
Very truly yours,
FAITH S. DIEHL
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