FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rafferty Calls for Reform of PA Beer Sales Laws
At a rally today at the State Capitol, Senator John Rafferty (R-44) joined consumers, grocery and convenience store owners and others who say it is time for Pennsylvania to join 46 other states in reforming its beer sales laws.
Rafferty has introduced legislation that would provide consumers with greater convenience in purchasing beer and at the same time strengthen enforcement of beer sales laws.
"It's time for Pennsylvania to move from an antiquated and unsafe system to one that is modern, safer and customer-friendly," Rafferty said. "Consumers should not be forced to purchases cases or kegs of beer if they desire a lesser amount. This proposal has overwhelming public support, and it will also help to crack down on underage beer sales through tougher enforcement."
Rafferty's bill would allow consumers to purchases six-packs in grocery and conveniences stores as well as at distributors. It would also require 100 percent "carding" for all beer sales with electronic age verification machines to ensure that minors are not purchasing alcohol illegally.
Rafferty's legislation would also provide for strengthened enforcement efforts and age compliance checks – to be funded through a $25,000 license conversion fee and annual fees of $2,500 which will generate millions of dollars annually.
More than four years ago, as chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, Rafferty conducted statewide hearings on underage drinking which focused on how minors obtained alcohol.
Rafferty said that 100 percent carding for all beer sales works. Since Market Café Restaurants at Wegmans began selling beer in May of 2008, there have been more than 760,000 transactions with no violations. All sales are subject to the company's 100 percent carding policy.
"Selling beer, including Pennsylvania-produced microbrews, in stores gives consumers greater choices, and the protections in this bill will actually help to stop sales to minors," Rafferty said. "This is a slow transition from an unsafe antiquated system to a new modern system used in 46 other states – and one that Pennsylvania consumers are demanding."