Pennsylvania breweries are concerned about the liquor privatization bill but they say they would not oppose the measure. The Brewers of Pennsylvania, which is a trade group that represent the breweries in the state, released a statement in support for the bill.
The Brewers of Pennsylvania noted that some parts of the bill could cause harm to the beer industry but the group said that it was the right time for change. The group is also waiting to see the changes in the bill in the state Senate.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a measure that would take the state government out of the business of selling alcohol. The vote was 105-90 along party lines. The bill now goes to the state Senate and observers expect the battle to intensify.
Brewers and beer distributors say provisions of the bill could hurt the industry. Some portions of the measure give the wine industry an unfair advantage over beer. A letter sent by Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and other brewers outlined their objections to the bill.
Bill Covaleski, president of the Brewers of Pennsylvania, said that the letter addressed the concerns of the group and was made after the earlier discussions among the coalition of beer supporters. He added that his group doesn’t want to block the legislation because it could result to a better environment for consumers.
Covaleski said that he hopes the measure is overhauled before it reaches the governor for the final signature. He wants major improvements in bill as it reaches the state Senate. He added that the brewers are willing to suffer some of the inadequacy of the House Bill in the hopes that the Senate would improve it.
The brewers are concerned about the creation of new wine and spirits licenses as well as an unfair market for beer in grocery stores, which can sell wine anywhere in the store and in unlimited quantities.