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Changes to PA’s alcohol sales coming tomorrow

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DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. —  In Nov., Gov. Wolf signed into law House Bill 1196 legalizes everything from single-bottles, mix-and-match-six packs and growler sales at beer distributors to cocktails at sporting events.  The bill, now officially Act 166, allows a historic change in the liquor laws by allowing beer distributors to sell all packages of malt or brewed beverages. This includes singles, four, six and eight packs, and to mix a package. It also permits the distributor to establish a growler station.

This follows after the start of six-pack licenses going into convenience stores and wine-to-go sales in supermarkets and restaurants, which were also approved last year.

“This is a huge win for the consumer and allows distributors to invest and become a better destination for those who purchase our products,” Frank Pistella, president of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association, said. “In Pennsylvania there are 1,200 distributors and they are limited to beer and a few other products.”

The latest changes take effect on Jan. 14 and are part of what Wolf calls the “free-the-six-pack” movement.

The bill’s provisions include:

  • Letting bars sell alcohol starting at 9 a.m. and instead of 11 a.m. on Sundays, without a requirement to serve food.
  • Allowing consumers to legally participate in beer-of-the-month clubs that ship beer directly to homes. Shipments would be limited to 192 ounces of beer per customer per month, but only 96 ounces of a specific brand per year.
  • Permitting professional and amateur sporting venues to sell mixed drinks, in shatterproof containers, outside the club seating and restaurant area before, during and after the event. The new rules mirror those at performing arts centers and other entertainment events, according to the governor’s office.

These changes have been praised by the Pennsylvania Malt Beverage Distributors Association.  This will allow their members to sell malt or brewed beverages in any amount for off-premises consumption.  Beer will not need to be in the manufacturer’s original configuration and will be able to be sold in refillable growlers that can be resealed.

“We believe that today in every local marketplace in Pennsylvania we offer the best selections, prices and service,” Pistella said. “Other outlets such as gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants have never been able to match the number of choices that we are able to give consumers nor the level of service. They offer access and specials while we compete and offer consistently fair and low prices.”

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