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HIGH COURT TELLS BEER DISTRIBUTORS TO SEEK LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION

December 6, 2010


MBDA will take to heart a ruling issued December 3rd by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that it needed to seek a legislative remedy to clarify confusing language in the state's liquor control laws that, in the court's eyes, permit beer sales in Wegmans supermarkets with restaurant sections.

If the General Assembly disagrees with the court's ruling, the court opinion stated, "It has the prerogative to enact responsive legislation."

MBDA president, David Shipula of Wilkes-Barre, said, "The court is saying we need to ask the legislature to make clear that grocery stores cannot operate as de facto beer distributors which we believe is what they are doing."

He said the court made significant note of the difference in beer sale quantities permitted in supermarket restaurant licenses. Restaurants can sell no more than two six packs of beer at a time while distributors can sell in no less than case lots. "Most distributors would love to sell beer by the six pack as a convenience to our customers but the letter of the law is clear here. What's not so clear in practice in the case of supermarkets is what constitutes a sale of only two six packs."

"We have seen instances where the same individual buys multiple six packs on the same trip to the supermarket - purchasing them in a string of two-pack-at-a- time transactions. That shouldn't be allowed but we now see that the court has told us to take it up with the General Assembly."

 
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