• Pennsylvania Announcement Clarifying Size of Beer Packages for Distributors Bad for Pennsylvania Beer
  • March 23, 2015 | Author: Theodore J. Zeller
  • Law Firm: Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. A Professional Corporation - Allentown Office
  • The Office of Chief Counsel of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board issued a Legal Opinion which will permit Distributors to sell any group of containers prepared in a package as long as that group of containers exceeds 128 ounces in size. Yes, this will permit Distributors to sell 12 packs which is a step in the right direction for consumer choice; however, the unintended consequences of the Legal Opinion will permit mega-breweries of the world; namely, ABI and Miller/Coors, to market their predatory 18 packs for sale in Pennsylvania for the first time ever. These predatory packs are offered at a deeply discounted price by big beer and are designed by big beer to focus the decision of the consumer on price as opposed to quality and variety.

    Since Prohibition, Pennsylvania breweries have followed the laws as written by the Pennsylvania Legislature and they do not have the equipment or the facilities to produce beer packaged in an 18 pack or other predatory packages. Pennsylvania breweries are manufacturers employing an estimated 10,000 employees earning $296 million in wages and generating $1.1 billion in direct economic output when last measured in 2010. In support of their Distributor business partners, the Brewers of Pennsylvania even introduced legislation last year that would allow distributors to sell 6 packs, 12 packs and growlers in addition to the standard size case of beer.

    Today’s announcement by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board renders the definition of a “case” contained in the Liquor Code a nullity. As such, it is possible that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s action is tantamount to new legislation and could be challenged.

    For now, distributors are permitted to immediately start selling 12 packs and you can expect predatory packages entering the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as early as next week.