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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pennsylvania Beer Action Alert, Take Two

PA Senate Bill 674 has made it out of the Law & Justice Committee!

According to my source, the "six-pack bill" was aided by the desire of Senator Rafferty (my old buddy from when I testified against keg registration) to "do something for the PA consumer." Hey, thanks, Senator.

I called my state Senator's local office -- Robert "Tommy" Tomlinson -- and asked them. (Senator Tomlinson did eventually get back to me, by the way, and confirmed that the bill was in the Law & Justice committee and he would consider its merits once it came up for a vote: fair enough.) The bill is out on the floor, ready for consideration, but I've been told that there's a good chance that won't happen until September.

(Some folks in comments have said they were told this bill will allow supermarket beer sales. Sure doesn't look that way to me, but here's the current text of the bill; take a look yourself (and note how this bill sidesteps the "Case Law" by redefining a "case" as a sixpack!))

Bug your Pennsylvania senator about this bill.


Anonymous said...

This was the response I got back when I wrote in before from Sen. Robert Wonderling.

Dear Brian:

Thank you for writing to me about Senate Bill 674. As a
cosponsor of the bill, I agree with you that individuals should be
allowed to purchase smaller quantities of alcohol from retailers. Specifically, the measure allows beer distributors to sell 12-packs of cans or bottles, instead of only full cases of 24 or 30. Taverns, which now may sell two six-packs at a time, would be allowed to sell three. And, the bill would allow supermarkets and grocery stores to sell beer. A few chains, including Wegmans, Weis and Scheetz, have sought permission to do so in at least some of their locations.

The bill is currently in the Law and Justice Committee. Please
know that should it come to a vote on the Senate floor, I will support
it. Again, thank you for writing.

Lew Bryson said...

Huh? "...the bill would allow supermarkets and grocery stores to sell beer." I didn't see that when I read it. Anyone see something different?

Anonymous said...

Lew, I had heard that there were provisions in the law to allow convenience stores/grocery stores to sell beer, too. In fact, didn't a Wawa in Central Pa. recently try to push this forward?

Lew Bryson said...

I've added a link to the current bill in the main post. I don't see anything that changes the supermarket thing, but I'm not a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

I found this article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
It says "Grocery stores also might be among the biggest beneficiaries. Although the stores themselves cannot apply for beer licenses, some have recently started to set up restaurants within their stores, which can apply. Consumers would have to pay for the beer at a separate register, but would be able to buy an 18-pack or three six-packs in the same place they buy their milk and eggs."

I didn't see it in the bill either, but most of that reads like Greek to me.

Lew Bryson said...

Tim Hyland left a comment that included an article and it just got too I rejected it and e-mailed him to ask for the link. He sent it, and here is his comment, with the link instead of the text

Lew, maybe this issue is unrelated to the bill -- but it seems there are ALREADY convenience stores selling beer in the state. Who knew? See article. This was from March:

Lew Bryson said...

Tim, Brian,

Yeah. This bill doesn't change anything. I bought beer at the Ashton Market in Upper Darby for years: it was a small grocery store and deli that had a tavern license and used it to sell 'to go' beer in sixers. That WAS legal under PA code, and it STILL is. To say that this bill changes that (except to the extent of how MUCH beer can be sold at a time at such places) only displays the ignorance that PA's ludicrously convoluted liquor code engenders. The current bill's ingenuous re-definition of "case" is not going to help things on that front!

Anonymous said...

I received an embossed form letter from Sen. Dominic Pileggi by snail mail today RE: PA Senate Bill 674. At least I finally heard something. I was quite surprised, its been a month since I sent him my email.

It gave no personal opinion of the Senator's though.

bird-dog said...


Any updates on this that you are aware of? I thought it was originally supposed to come up for a vote in September?

Are there any arguments against it?