Frank Pistella, president of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association, today praised the General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf as he announced that he was signing HB 1196 into law.

“This is a huge win for the consumer and allows distributors to invest and become a better destination for those who purchase our products,” Pistella said. “In Pennsylvania there are 1,200 distributors and they are limited to beer and a few other products.”

Pistella noted that the specialty retailer – who loses his livelihood if they lose their license to sell beer – is the most secure outlet for retailing these beverages.

“The market for beer is in transition and today’s customer focuses on quality, often desiring a larger variety of small packages,” Pistella continued. “This change allows distributors to maintain the inventory to fulfill this consumer desire and it means that local markets and not state law will determine what products each of us carries.”

HB 1196, now officially Act 166, allows a historic change in the liquor laws by authorizing beer distributors to sell all packages of malt or brewed beverages. This includes singles, four, six and eight packs, and to mix a package. It also permits the distributor to establish a growler station.

The Malt Beverage Distributors Association represents a statewide coalition of small business investors and store operators that hold a distributors license. The law limits each person to owning a single distributor’s license and prohibits chain businesses.

In addition to Governor Wolf, Pistella praised the four chairs of the liquor committees of the Senate and House: Senators Chuck Mcilhinney and Jim Brewster and Representatives Adam Harris and Paul Costa.

“These four did a terrific job of building the coalitions necessary to enable this important legislation to pass the General Assembly,” Pistella said.