California bill increases consumer access to spirits RTDs

California, US has introduced a bill to allow spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages to be sold under the same licence as beer and wine.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) has introduced SB 277, a measure that will help California’s laws meet consumer demand by providing fairer treatment for RTDs in the marketplace.

Adam Smith, vice president of government relations at DISCUS, said: “The RTD market is booming, and with new innovation comes new opportunities to look at and update our laws. Senator Dodd’s bill helps keep California at the forefront of the modern marketplace and meets the growing consumer demand for spirits RTD products.

“Spirits RTDs often contain the same or lower amounts of alcohol than beer- and wine-based beverages, so there is no reason to treat them differently by requiring a prohibitively expensive licence to carry them.”

In California, grocery and convenience stores need a unique and expensive licence in order to carry spirits RTDs, despite some having a lower abv than beer and wine.

Beer and wine-based RTDs are sold in more than 28,000 locations, with spirits RTDs only sold in about 14,000 locations, with the proposed bill helping to correct this disparity.

California is one of many states taking a closer look at this issue to ensure that producers of spirits-based RTDs are being treated fairly.