Pennsylvania Clarifies Age Verification Rules for DtC Shippers

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) recently published a supplementary advisory notice, clarifying age verification requirements that Direct Wine Shipper (DWS) licensees must fulfill as a condition of their license.

According to the notice, DWS licensees must meet two requirements regarding verifying the ages of their Pennsylvania customers:

  • Use only delivery services that will verify the age of the package recipient at the point of delivery and will refuse to deliver to anyone under the age of 21. This requirement is effective immediately.
  • Establish an “age gate” on their website that requires everyone visiting the site to affirm that they are 21 years of age or older. The PLCB recommends this gate is in place when a visitor seeks to initially access the site, but will permit the age gate to be in place at checkout. Further, the PLCB requires DWS licensees to have all Pennsylvania purchasers ordering by phone to affirm their age and identities when making an order. DWS licensees must meet this requirement by January 1, 2019.

These requirements replace earlier statements by the PLCB that it would have required DWS licensees to use online age verification services by January 1, 2019. That process can be complicated and expensive, so these new, easier-to-meet requirements are welcome news.

Indeed, both requirements are already standard in the direct-to-consumer wine market.

Both FedEx and UPS have protocols in place that require that delivery of wine can only be made to someone who is present at the time of delivery, who will sign for the package, and who will present identification verifying they are of legal age to possess alcohol.

The PLCB notice also addresses reporting requirements for DWS license holders, and a prohibition on DWS licensees selling any wines that they do not produce. However, this supplement does not change the PLCB’s previous statements on these issues. You can read about the reporting requirements here.

The PLCB notice does restate that the PLCB will evaluate how well any DWS licensee is complying with all their requirements when renewing those licenses. As such, all DWS licensees should pay close attention to what the PLCB is requiring. If you are concerned about your own compliance needs, contact ShipCompliant by Sovos today to see how we can help you.

 

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