Local distributors may see increase in beer selection

Pennsylvania's senate passed legislation that will allow beer distributors to sell six-packs of beer. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN - Consumers may soon have a greater selection of beer to choose from.

The state senate voted Monday to pass legislation that would among other things allow distributors to sell beer for off-site consumption in any amount, including six-packs and growlers.

Right now, beer distributors are allowed to sell in case quantities of 128 fluid ounces, which amounts to a 12-pack of beer. The new bill would allow you to purchase six-packs from more than just restaurants and bars.

It was only last year that beer distributors could start selling 12-packs.

At Habits Beer & Tobacco, owner Jody Stem likes the idea being able to sell beer in even lesser quantities.

"I think that it'll help our business a little bit, you know, people who are low on money,” Stem said. “But I think it'll hurt the bars that sell the six packs now and places like Pizza Deli that have six packs."

Aaron Labarko has been the general manager at Pizza Deli for nearly 20 years.

"I feel bad for these little guys like the bars and the clubs and stuff like that, because once Sheetz gets this beer for example, they're going to be selling them 24-ounce cans for a $1.99,” Labarko said. “It's just going put the little guy out of business."

Sheetz announced earlier this month it would be the first convenience store in the state to sell wine, and the premise of selling beer too could mean less business for local distributors.

"Somebody stops for gas, they can grab a six-pack there, so they wouldn't have to come over here."

Customers understand the positives and negatives as well.

"It's probably going help the consumer, but I don't know about the business partnership," Mel Moss said.

"It'll be more convenient for people. That's the idea, the way I understand it,” Stem said.

The House of Representatives still has to approve the bill and then it will go to Gov. Tom Wolf.

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