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Conn. Regulatory News: Food and ATM in Package Stores Clarification

From the Office of John Suchydcpsealnew
Division Director of Liquor Control

April 20, 2016

CERTAIN FOODS MAY BE A COMPONENT OF TASTINGS AT PACKAGE STORES

AND

THE PRESENCE OF AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE (ATM) IN A PACKAGE STORE DOES NOT VIOLATE THE LIQUOR CONTROL ACT OR ITS REGULATIONS

This will serve as a supplement to the September 13, 2013 advisory titled “Wine Tastings at Package Stores.” The Department of Consumer Protection has undertaken a review of the policy which prohibited the serving of food items at in-store tastings at package stores and is issuing the following advisement.

For many years, all food items were prohibited as commodities for sale. In recent years, the law changed and now allows for cheese, crackers, olives, and complementary fresh fruits used in the preparation of mixed alcoholic beverages to be sold in package stores. Furthermore, package stores are now allowed to provide tastings of wine from up to ten (10) bottles and up to four (4) bottles of other alcoholic liquor types.

The department believes that the availability of limited food items at in-store tastings will demonstrate a sound public policy of discouraging the over service of alcoholic liquor, and will promote social responsibility by allowing patrons to consume snack food, such as cheese and crackers, while drinking alcohol. The department has always stressed to our permit holders that they must be cognizant of over-service of alcoholic liquors at tastings, and must adhere to the serving sizes allowed. As a reminder, each serving shall not exceed the following amounts per patron: one half ounce per cordial or spirit, one ounce per wine, and two ounces per beer.

Package stores may now offer to their patrons at in-store tastings the food items which they are allowed to sell and are offering for sale at their stores.

Therefore, as long as a package store offers the food items for sale on its premises, a package store may now offer the following during tastings:
Cheese, crackers, olives, nonalcoholic beverages and complementary fresh fruits used in the preparation of mixed alcoholic beverages to be sold in package stores.

The Department has undertaken a review of the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and recognizes their proliferation and ease of convenience for consumers. ATMs can be found in virtually every on- and off-premises location, except one: the CT package store. While there is no specific statute prohibiting the presence of ATMs within a package store, the department has, up until now, not allowed ATMs in stores in an effort to discourage the presence of minors and the easy access to cash to those who might abuse alcohol.

The department realizes that the overwhelming majority of liquor permit holders and their employees are responsible, law-abiding citizens and comport themselves in accordance with the Liquor Control Act in their business dealings. The department recognizes that ATMs are routinely used by consumers and already exist within establishments that sell and distribute alcoholic liquor. Accordingly, the department will no longer take the position that placing of ATMs within the confines of a package store is a violation of the Liquor Control Act or its regulations.

John J. Suchy, Director of the Liquor Control Division

The Department of Consumer Protection, through the State Liquor Control Commission, oversees all sales of liquor in the State of Connecticut.

165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut 06106-1630
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