pa senate evaluates beer sales

New bill votes on what kinds of packaging distributors can carry, as well as what kind of venues are allowed to sell alcohol.

A Pennsylvania Senate committee is discussing a bill that could change the way beer is sold in the state. The bill has left the senate committee divided over the right to sell beer in certain venues.

The new bill would allow distributors to sell 12-packs alongside the 24- or 30-packs that they’ve been selling. The bill would also let distributors sell different kinds of products that are available in other states, such as 15-packs and 18-packs of beer, according to Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

The bill, which senators are calling “a consumer-friendly measure,” would allow bars and restaurants licensed for beer sales to sell up to three six-packs at a time. Current laws allow them to sell a maximum of two per customer visit.

The bill would also affect groceries and convenience stores, such as Sheetz, Wegman’s and Weis, all of which have been fighting for permission to sell beer.

“This would be a change to the beer industry. Consumers want change and flexibility,” state Sen. Sean Logan, D-Monroeville, told the Post-Gazette. Logan is the sponsor of the bill and the minority chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

The bill has found support with groups like the Pennsylvania Convenience Store Council, however, it has found opposition from beer distributors who feel that not only will there be an increase in competition with c-stores and grocers entering the fray, but they will also lose much of their current business when customers are allowed to purchase three six-packs at a time.

The committee discussing beer and liquor issues was scheduled to vote on the bill yesterday, but the voting was delayed by Sen. John Rafferty, D-Montgomery. Rafferty postponed the vote until the week of June 4 to give all interested parties, such as beer distributors and tavern owners, one last chance to comment.

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