Most Penn students are acquainted with the effects of Pennsylvania’s laws controlling the sale of beer, which are some of the most restrictive in the country. But if State Sen. John Rafferty gets his way, those laws might become more lax.
Rafferty’s bill, which would loosen restrictions on where beer can be purchased, drew an enthusiastic reaction from a crowd of supporters during a rally at the State Capitol last Tuesday.
The proposed legislation would allow the sale of six- and 12-packs of beer at grocery stores, convenience stores and distributors.
Under current Pennsylvania law, small quantities of beer can only be purchased at bars and some restaurants, while beer distributors are restricted to selling only kegs and cases. Meanwhile, grocery stores and convenience stores are barred from selling beer altogether.
Wharton senior and self-proclaimed “beer aficionado” Eli Robinson said he would like to see the proposal become law.
“Between quantity and convenience, I think these new changes would be excellent,” he said.
He explained that law makes it so that beer always has to be bought in large quantities — a nuisance for beer purchasers.
“I’m not implying that it causes me to drink more,” he added, “but it’s there.”
He also called beer a more “spur-of-the-moment” purchase, and said more places selling beer would mean not having to plan so meticulously. Currently, he said he has to consider when he will want the beer, how much time he will spend getting to a distributor and how much he will need to buy.
Due to the restrictions on where beer can be sold, Robinson said he usually makes his purchases at University City Beverage on 43rd and Walnut streets, whether or not the location is convenient for him.
UCB Manager John Kim said loosened sales restrictions would affect his beer sales, but added that he is unsure as to what degree his business would be affected.
Kim said he is not sure how realistic it would be to extend beer sales to more venues. He explained that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board already has trouble enforcing regulations, particularly when it comes to minors trying to buy alcohol.
He posed the question of how the Liquor Control Board will be able to deal with the regulation of additional venues.
To address issues like the one Kim raised, Rafferty’s bill will require electronic age verification for all beer sales.
Kim also said he does not have any complaints about the restrictions barring distributors from selling six- and 12-packs. He added that UCB “like[s] to sell the cases.”
This is not Rafferty’s first attempt at loosening restrictions on beer sales.
Rafferty previously introduced a bill similar to the current one, which would have extended the sale of cases to bars and restaurants and the sale of six-packs to distributors. But the bill failed due to worries by some over how changes in the law could affect the sales of current distributors.Comments powered by Disqus
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