Proposed beer bill promotes craft beer sales in Delaware

Delaware liquor stores may soon be able to fill and sell half-gallon sized containers of draught beer under new legislation. Right now, only breweries can sell the 64-ounce glass or ceramic size which is also known as a growler.

Every two years, liquor stores could purchase a permit to sell the large container under House Bill 31.

According to Rep. Debra Heffernan, D-Del., who introduced the bill, opening such sells to liquor stores puts them in a competitive market with neighboring states.  Pennsylvania and New Jersey already sell growlers as well as some parts of Maryland.

“Right now, you can drive over the Pennsylvania state line and fill up a growler of Dogfish Head at Whole Foods in Glen Mills,” said Rep. Heffernan. “But in Delaware, you have to drive to Milton or Rehoboth Beach to get a growler of the same beer.”

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“It’s frustrating to be a retailer and not be able to fill a demand from your consumer,” said Ed Mulvihill, owner of Peco’s Liquor Store in Wilmington. “Selling growlers allows us to build on that niche market and keeps customers here in Delaware while local brewers get more exposure.”

The move would also allow area breweries in Delaware to expand their market, reach more customers and bring more revenue into the state. That means all nine breweries listed by the Delaware Brewers Guild could reap benefits.  Often times, breweries produce draught beer varieties that are not only limited to their brewery but limits craft beer drinkers’ ability to purchase some of those varieties.

Sam Hobbs, owner of Twin Lakes Brewery, believes the bill will definitely drive growth and brand awareness for individual breweries. Hobbs says if they’ll able to produce more beer, the bill could also create jobs at breweries, distributors, and liquor stores.

If state lawmakers pass the legislation, consumers would be able to fill growlers at liquor stores as soon as this summer.

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