The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has ruled that beer distributors are now allowed to sell 12-packs. Previously, distributors in PA were only allowed to sell cases or kegs of beer or malt beverages. This quantity has remained on our law books since the post-Prohibition days, thus making this ruling significant as it’s the first major progress in changing the antiquated liquor laws here in PA.
The 12-packs must arrive from the brewery or manufacturer as 12-packs in order for distributors to sell them. In other words, distributors cannot take a case from a brewery and split it up on their own, selling it as 2 12-packs. This gives an edge to Pennsylvania-based breweries, as they will most likely deem it worthwhile to order new-sized boxes to hold 12-packs in order to be able to sell smaller quantities at distributors. A brewery in California or Colorado is less likely to create an entirely new packaging design just to sell in PA, unless we happened to be a huge market for them.
Props here to our Pittsburgh-area warriors such as Pistella Beer Distributors in Friendship and Save-Mor Beer in Squirrel Hill who sued the PLCB last year over a similar issue, pushing the PLCB to update their laws.
12-packs will allow beer drinkers to purchase a greater variety of beer without having to commit to the price of a full case, or paying the marked-up price of smaller quantities at bottle and 6-pack shops. This should also help small PA brewers in that more drinkers could sample their beer at a reasonable price. Ideally, I think it’d be great to see PA breweries offer a variety pack – 3 4-packs of 3 different beers – bundled into a 12-pack box.
Local Pittsburgh breweries, take advantage of being small and being able to adapt quickly to change. Please order up some new 12-pack-sized boxes and use this opportunity! Let’s get our awesome Pittsburgh breweries known all across the state!