Currently in Pennsylvania, unless you go to a deli/restaurant or a bar (where it’s marked up), you can’t buy less than a case (24 cans or bottles) of beer at a time from a beer distributor (i.e. a beer store, wine/liquor stores are separate). For a single person that doesn’t drink much, that’s a LOT of beer. Sometimes I don’t get all the way through a case before it starts to go skunky on me. So I waste money. It also means I have to buy a LOT of only one kind. This is fine for a party, but frankly, I get sick of drinking the same thing for weeks on end and inevitably end up with a few bottles that have gone bad before I get around to wanting it again. I like variety in my beer diet just like I like variety in my food diet. Sure, you can purchase mixed cases, but they always include 6 bottles of something I don’t like, so I waste money yet again. I’m on a budget. I can’t waste money on beer I’m not going to drink or that’s going to go bad before I can drink it. Beer is too precious for that, thankyouverymuch.
So I haven’t been buying beer very often unless I’m taking it to a pot luck or open house. I’ve been buying wine instead since I can buy less at a time.
There’s a measure right now in the legislature to allow for the sale of smaller quantities of beer from beer distribution stores. This makes me happy. In fact, I’d probably buy more beer on a more regular basis because I’d have that variety I crave. Ironically, some local beer brewers are trying to block it, out of fear that the sale of packs containing 12 or 18 bottles/cans would hurt their business because they’re not equipped to package beer in quantities other than 6 or 24 packs. The brewers that do distribute 18 packs are the big named national companies like Anheuser-Busch, not the local microbreweries. Many microbreweries are afraid that because they can’t offer those sizes to consumers it means they’ll lose business and people will be buying those 18 packs of Budweiser and Miller as opposed to their microbrews.
Frankly, I think the objecting microbreweries are being shortsighted and just a little bit idiotic.
See, I’m a beer snob. I’m not interested in the big national beers like Budweiser. I want good microbrews. That’s what I like. That’s what I drink. Most of my friends are the same way. And right now the fact that I can’t get a variety of good microbrews without paying mark-up or getting stuck with stuff I don’t want means I’m actually NOT BUYING BEER very often.
If they want me to buy more beer, then let me buy it in quantities that are reasonable and that give me a variety of tastes and styles. As a beer drinker, I’m all for supporting this beer-sale reform proposal.