At lager heads: Pa. beer distributors stoutly oppose Corbett privatization plan

    Any reservations beer distributors have about Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett’s liquor privatization plan have brewed into outright opposition.

    Malt Beverage Distributor Association president Mark Tanczos says the proposal to replace state liquor stores with privately held licenses to sell wine, beer and spirits would put distributors out of business.

    “We have been economically shackled for 80 years,” Tanczos said Thursday. “We have played by the rules that the governor and the General Assembly had created years ago, in the past. We follow those rules and now, basically, what the governor’s plan does for our beer distributors is basically throw us into a competition that certainly is not fair to us.”

    Immediately after Corbett unveiled his plan, the distributors were concerned.

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    But they were also pleased to see it included one thing they’ve wanted for a long time — the ability to sell not just cases of beer, but six-packs.

    Tom Mehaffi, who owns Breski Beverage distributor in Dauphin County, says package reforms would help him satisfy more customers.

    He offered one example of why customers sometimes don’t want to spring for a whole case.

    “If you take Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, it’s over $100 a case. No one really wants to purchase and try that beer at $100 a case and take the risk and say, ‘ooh, I didn’t like this,’ ” he said

    The Republican state House Majority Leader is leading the charge on the governor’s privatization plan. But proposals to allow beer distributors to sell smaller packages have bipartisan support in the state Senate.

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