“Case Rule”

Pennsylvania Liquor Laws Enter the 21st Century

High on the list of beer travelers’ pet peeves is Pennsylvania’s “case rule”, a law that forbids distributors—who have a near-monopoly on beer sales in the state—to sell quantities of less than a case. That restriction will soon end, as Governor Tom Wolf said he will sign a bill allowing sales of six- and 12-packs and growlers.

Earlier this year, the governor signed legislation that makes it easier to buy wine. It also authorizes a study of the privatization of the state’s alcohol-distribution system.

Pennsylvania Eases the Dreaded “Case Rule”

Beer lovers who live in Pennsylvania, or who pass through it, are aware of the dreaded “Case Rule.” Most of the beer sold in the Keystone State is sold by “distributors” who, by law, can’t sell you less than 24 bottles or cans–a big problem if you want to sample the local micro products. Six- and 12-packs are available at bars and delis, but some establishments have been known to charge sky-high prices.

That’s about to change, at least a little. The Liquor Control Board has issued an advisory opinion that allows distributors to sell “original containers” with 128 or more ounces of beer. In plain English, that means 12-packs. It’s a step in the right direction.

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