At a news conference today in Glen Mills, Senator Tom Killion (R-9) announced the introduction of Senate Bill 1359, a bill that would level the playing field for hundreds of beer distributors throughout Pennsylvania who are now feeling the pressure of increased competition.
“Over the last few weeks we saw consumers welcome changes to Pennsylvania antiquated liquor laws. Unfortunately, hundreds of Pennsylvania beer distributors and small business owners were left out of those reforms and now must operate in an even more competitive environment,” said Sen. Killion.
Senate Bill 1359 provides over 1,200 Pennsylvania beer distributors with the opportunity to apply for a license to sell wine. The new license would offer parity to these small business owners and provide distributors with the same ability to sell wine that was recently extended to grocery stores and other restaurant license holders in Act 39 of 2016. The new license allows distributors to purchase the license for $2,000 and permits them to sell up to four bottles of wine at a time.
“This proposal is critical for the survival of the hundreds of distributors across the state. Normally, Labor Day is one of our busiest times—this year we noticed a drop in traffic. Recent liquor law changes now allow grocery stores to sell wine and beer together, there is no logical reason distributors don’t have the same ability to sell both wine and beer,” said Steve Blaisse of D&I Beverage in Glen Mills.
“Senate Bill 1359 is a common sense measure that will help small businesses, which are crucial to our economy. Pennsylvania beer distributors have invested thousands of dollars into their businesses and for years, and played by the crazy rules set by the state. We cannot allow absurd regulation to drive distributors out of business and put thousands of people out of work,” concluded Senator Killion.
Act 39 of 2016 included a number of reforms demanded by consumers, including expanded hours of operation at state liquor stores and fewer restrictions in relation to state-mandated holidays and Sunday operation. The act also allowed for online internet orders for wine, stores to create loyalty programs, distribute coupons, utilize flexible pricing options and offer new sales and discounts. It allowed for the limited sale of wine at select restaurants, hotels and grocery stores that purchase the proper licenses.