PLCB Shenanigans

Beer Distributors Not on Sixpack Sales Bandwagon

Photo: Philly Beer Week

As expected, not everyone was especially thrilled about Senator John Rafferty’s proposed legislation to allow sixpack sales in supermarkets and beer distributors. While consumers and other people who live in the 21st century are delighted to have our beer laws modernized, beer distributors, who are only permitted to sell cases under the current law - are crying foul.

According to the Inquirer, distributors are ticked off for a number of reasons, all of which boil down to being afraid supermarkets and their multi-store buying power will put distributors - who are only permitted by law to own one outlet - out of business. As an example, they cite the way supermarket sales of soda have cut into their sales over the past two decades.

As a consumer, it’s hard to be sympathetic to the distributors’ complaints that this creates an unlevel playing field - much like, as a consumer, it’s difficult to feel sympathy toward the restaurateurs who fought the PLCB wine boutique within Garces Trading Company for the same reason - but their points are valid. Why should distributors be fiscally punished for adhering to the [stupid] laws? The Inky sums up the many-headed PLCB hydra and its nefarious effects nicely:

The Pennsylvania legislature created a monster when it set up the state system to control the distribution and sale of liquor, wine, and beer more than 70 years ago. Because nearly every aspect of the system is controlled, any change is likely to hurt one or another of the system’s players.

This Economy: An unlevel playing field for beer sellers [Inquirer]

Previously: Could Supermarket Sixpack Sales Become a Reality?

Beer Distributors Not on Sixpack Sales Bandwagon