PLCB Extends 2021 License Fee Waiver To Now Include Pennsylvania Breweries

As you may know, in October the PLCB announced waiving of license fees for 2021 in an effort to offer pandemic relief to businesses throughout the state. However, if you read through the announcement you would find that this did not apply to craft breweries in Pennsylvania. Yours truly wrote an opinion piece on why that may have been the case.

In a change of events, the organization recently released the following press release:

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) today approved, by a vote of 2-1, the forgiveness of an estimated $1.8 million in license fees in 2021 for manufacturing licensees – wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Additionally, fees for sacramental wine licensees will be waived for 2021.

“In late October, at the urging of Governor Wolf, the PLCB waived fees for retail licensees most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including holders of restaurant, retail dispenser, club, catering club, and hotel licenses. We realize that Pennsylvania beverage alcohol producers are also struggling during this public health crisis, so we are extending the waiver of certain fees for wineries, breweries, and distilleries,” said Board Chairman Tim Holden.

The fees charged to manufacturers and sacramental wine licensees to renew their licenses during 2021, which vary from $385 to $5,400, will not be collected since many of these licensees also allow on-premises consumption and were therefore affected by the restrictions placed on such businesses. The waived fees include the application, renewal, and license fees for wineries, limited wineries, distilleries, limited distilleries, distilleries of historical significance, breweries, and alternate breweries.

These waivers apply for the licensing term that goes into effect in 2021. For manufacturers, this means the licensing term that begins on Jan. 1, 2021, even though those applications are filed and approved in the latter part of 2020. Any licensee that has already submitted an application for a license that goes into effect in 2021 and paid the relevant fees will receive a refund in due course.

“Again, this decision for me is not about whether such relief is deserved by struggling businesses, rather it’s about ignoring requirements established by the Liquor Code and other state laws,” said Board Member Mike Negra. “I believe our administrative role is to follow the legislative process put into place by those elected to office by the citizens of Pennsylvania, and relief like this can only be granted appropriately by the state legislature.”

Licensees are encouraged to review the PLCB’s revised Advisory Notice 27 for details on the fee waivers.

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