Similar concerns expressed by the Malt Beverage Distributors Association, one of the few stakeholders to receive no new benefits from the bill. The distributors, meanwhile, will watch as competitors gain the ability to sell wine and the law codifies the ability for gas stations to sell alcohol.
“Consumers will have less selection and higher prices unless they shop in a state store,” said Frank Pistella, the MBDA’s first vice president. “Distributors will lose and so will their customers.”
Amy Christie, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association, saw the bill as a mixed bag. The establishments the association represents gain the ability to sell up to four bottles of wine, but also a powerful competitor in the form of casinos with the ability to serve alcohol around the clock. “This is a win in a way that we can sell more product to go out the door,” she said, but it underlined the need for taverns to be able to add more video gaming machines to compete with the casinos.
But December’s vote in the Senate, which gutted a Turzai bill to replace it with the reforms, and Tuesday’s vote in the House showed strong bipartisan support for the modernization efforts—even if not all of the stakeholders are pleased.
“I’ve been working on this (issue) over a period of years and it’s very rare the speaker and I agree on an issue,” said Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny County. “We do now.”