The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) testified today before the Alabama Senate Committee on Tourism on SB 194 – a commonsense reform that will modernize Alabama’s laws to provide equal market access for spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails. Despite many of these products having the same or lower alcohol-by-volume (ABV) than their beer- and wine-based counterparts, they are prohibited from being sold in grocery and convenience stores alongside those products.

“In Alabama, beer and wine ready-to-drink products can be sold in four times the amount of stores than spirits RTDs despite the fact that these products have the exact same alcohol content,” said Amy Whited, vice president of state public policy at DISCUS. “This bill will ensure a level playing field for consumers and give them equal access to low-ABV beverages regardless of the source of the alcohol. The majority of states allow spirits ready-to-drink cocktails to be sold in grocery and convenience stores. There is no reason Alabama shouldn’t be one of them.”

In Alabama, beer- and wine-based RTDs can be sold in more than 4,600 locations, including grocery and convenience stores. Meanwhile, spirits RTDs with the same or lower amounts of alcohol can only be sold in 980 locations.

The distilled spirits industry is a significant driver of economic activity in Alabama, contributing to the vibrancy of the manufacturing, hospitality, tourism and agriculture industries. There are currently 9,500 jobs in the state depending on the spirits industry, generating more than $936 million in state economic activity each year.

Alabama is one of many states taking a closer look at this issue to ensure that spirits consumers have equal access to their favorite products, recognizing that treating beverages differently based off of the myth that some alcohol is “softer” than others sends a dangerous message to consumers.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the leading voice and advocate for distilled spirits in the U.S., advocating on legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues impacting the distilled spirits sector at the local, state, federal and international levels. DISCUS members are committed to responsibility and encourage adults who drink to do so in moderation.

Source: DISCUS


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