The Pennsylvania legislature is in a battle over the future of the state’s craft beer industry. The contention surrounds a Republican-sponsored bill that would essentially do two things. First, it would allow current holders of state liquor licenses — thousands of bars, restaurants, and even beer distributors — to begin selling bottles of wine to carry out. Second, business such as convenience stores, grocery stores, and even supermarkets, could begin to sell wine and beer through the purchase of a current liquor license.
A couple of other minor provisions would allow casinos to serve alcohol until 4am instead of the current 2am curfew. Beer and wine retailers would also be able to obtain their products directly. As it is now, the state of Pennsylvania owns all beer and wine distributorships, and retailers must purchase from the state.
All of this would mean that retailers, and thus consumers, would be able to pay less for their alcohol. State Democrats oppose the bill, arguing that it would lose money for the state — $50 from the treasury by some estimates. While Pennsylvania Democrats argue that they do not want the state treasury to lose money, Republicans argue that they want consumers to have more options and freedom of choice.