US state Texas has introduced a bill to allow spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) products to be sold in grocery and convenience stores.
The law currently only allows beer and wine-based RTDs to be sold in grocery or convenience stores in the state.
This is despite spirits-based RTDs largely having the same or lower ABV than its beer and wine-based counterparts, trade body the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) said.
Discus has welcomed the introduction of the HB 2200 by representative Justin Holland, calling the bill a ‘common sense reform that will modernise Texas laws to provide fair treatment for spirits-based RTD cocktails’.
Holland said: “In Texas, beer and wine-based RTDs can be sold in more than 30,000 locations, including grocery and convenience stores.
“Meanwhile, spirits RTDs with the same or lower amounts of alcohol can only be sold in 3,200 locations. My bill closes this loophole, providing economic opportunity to tens of thousands of Texas businesses.”
Greater access to spirits-based RTDs will contribute to the distilled spirits industry in Texas, in manufacturing, hospitality, tourism, and agriculture, according to Discus.
“As someone from Texas, I know how frustrating it can be to have to go from store to store simply to purchase my favourite canned cocktails when I can easily buy similar beer or wine products at grocery and convenience stores already,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of Discus.
“It is past time for Texas to do right by small businesses and consumers and equalise access to spirits RTDs. Consumers are clear: they want greater access to these incredibly popular beverages. Lawmakers need to listen to their constituents and update the laws accordingly.”
The US state of California also recently introduced a bill that allows spirits-based RTD products to be sold under the same licence used for beer and wine.
“Consumers simply don’t understand why they can come into our stores and pick up malt-based seltzers but can’t do the same with their favourite spirits-based canned cocktails,” said Paul Hardin, president and CEO of Texas Food & Fuel Association.
“Allowing our members to sell these lower-ABV products would not only support their growth, but the growth of many Texas-owned businesses looking to get into the RTD market. These products contain the same or lower amounts of alcohol than beer and wine-based beverages and there is no reason to treat them differently.”
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Author: Alice Brooker