Gov. Wolf signs bill to allow six-pack sales for beer distributors

//November 15, 2016

Gov. Wolf signs bill to allow six-pack sales for beer distributors

//November 15, 2016

Gov. Tom Wolf today signed legislation that will allow retail beer distributors to sell six-packs, growlers, singles for mix-a-six packs or any other amount of beer they wish to sell. The legislature passed the change, House Bill 1196, last month.

The legislation also legalizes so-called beer-of-the-month clubs by allowing out-of-state wholesalers and retailers to ship up to 192 ounces directly to Pennsylvania consumers each month.

And mixed drinks could be sold at sporting venues that currently sell beer, while bars could start serving alcohol at 9 a.m. on Sunday, instead of 11 a.m.

Also under the new law, breweries do not need a brewery pub license to sell the products of other licensed breweries, limited wineries, limited distilleries and distilleries.

Beer distributors had been pushing for wine sales after this summer’s Act 39, which provided more opportunities for supermarkets, convenience stores, bars, restaurants and hotels to become one-stop shops for takeout beer and wine.

Distributors dropped that push after this latest reform materialized at the end of the 2015-16 legislative voting session.

But not everybody is happy about the latest change.

The trade association that represent about 2,500 retail licensees in Pennsylvania, including restaurants, bars, taverns, resorts and bottle shops, have argued that this change will negatively impact their business. 

“You have all the sandwich and pizza shops and the bottle shops, where 60 to 70 percent of their business is takeout beer. This killed them,” said Amy Christie, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association.

Her members are still limited to selling 192 ounces of takeout beer, while consumers will now be able to get whatever they want from retail beer distributors. 

“Free the beer,” she said. “Let the businesses stock what customers want. That is true pro-consumer.”

The beer bill signed by Wolf takes effect in 60 days.