State Senator: Ban Powdered Alcohol in Pennsylvania

palcohol copyLast month, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board decided it would not sell powdered alcohol products in its Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores. “While we have not been approached to sell any powdered alcohol products, we wanted to clearly state our position proactively on this particular form of alcohol,” PLCB Chairman Skip Brion said in a release.

Now a state senator wants to ban powdered alcohol in the state entirely. Earlier this week, State Sen. Shirley Kitchen introduced legislation that would do such a thing.

“‘Palcohol’ is marketed as a lighter and easier-to-transport alternative than liquid alcohol. However, that also makes it much easier to conceal, consume, and be acquired by minors,” Kitchen said in a release. “This is a tasteless, odorless product and it is virtually unrecognizable from liquid alcohol. That it can be sprinkled over food or hidden in just about any container makes it too easy for our children to abuse.” Read more »

Beer Distributors Can Now Sell 12-PackS

SummerSelections_FeaturedImageThe PLCB’s Office of Chief Counsel has issued a legal advisory allowing Pennsylvania’s beer distributors to sell 12-packs of beer. Previously beer distributors were only allow to sell 24-packs or more of beer while bars and bottle shops could sell smaller quantities.

Below is the important part of the ruling:

Practically, this advisory opinion clarifies existing law by informing brewers that they may sell “original containers” as long as the container contains at least 128 fluid ounces, for example a 12-pack, to distributors that may be resold “as is” to consumers. No modifications to existing inventory held by distributors and importing distributors is allowed.

Although the option of purchasing beer in 12-packs would appear to be a clear win across the board, even MADD has come out against the case law, not everyone is happy about the PLCB ruling. The PA Brewers Association said “the PLCB have exceeded their legal authority” and that the ruling paves the way for the sale of 18-packs. A size that favors “foreign-owned, mega-brewers” and is a “predatory, ‘loss leader’.” The trade association, that represents and promotes Pennsylvania-based breweries says the ruling will put local brewers at a competitive disadvantage.

12-Packs as Single Original Containers (PDF) [PLCB]

So Here’s A Funny Story…

RubbSuspendedSome of you out there might’ve noticed the big, white SUSPENDED LICENSE sign hanging in the window of the new Rubb BBQ in Manayunk on Monday night. I know for a fact that DJ Seersucker did, because he posted the snap over there on Instagram, with the clever observation that “They Rubb-ed one out tonight”–‘They’ presumably being the PLCB.

And while yes, a sign like that generally spells doom for just about any restaurant that sports one, this one comes with kind of a funny story…

See, I put in a call to Shawn Kelly at the PLCB to see what was up because it seemed to me that Rubb simply hadn’t had its license long enough to violate its terms. And Kelly came back to explain to me that they hadn’t–that, really, they were paying the price for someone else’s violations.

Read more »

In Pa. House, a Fresh Push for Liquor Privatization

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A fresh push to privatize the state’s liquor store system is brewing in the Pennsylvania House, NewsWorks reports.

Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed told NewsWorks that his chamber may revive a privatization bill that passed the House and failed the Senate two years ago.  The Senate’s Republican majority has gotten larger and more conservative since then.

Read more »

Limited Tickets Remain to Philly Chef Conference

philly-chef-conference-sunday-940Drexel University’s second annual Philly Chef Conference takes place this Sunday and Monday. Monday’s chef-only sessions are already sold out but a limited number of tickets remain to Sunday, January 11th’s public event.

In addition to a keynote address by acclaimed baker and teacher, Peter Reinhart, Sunday’s schedule includes a panel on Pennsylvania liquor laws that will feature State Senator Chuck McIlhinneyJoseph Brion, head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and several hospitality industry pros.

A second panel focuses on Philly 2020, a look into the future of Philadelphia’s dining scene. The panel is moderated by Sam Katz and will include the conference’s chair Kevin Sbraga as well as Jeff Benjamin of Vetri Family, Joncarl Lachman of Noord, Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo, and Rob Keddie of Garces Group.

Sunday’s sessions runs from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Bossone Research Center, Mitchell Auditorium at 3201 Market Street. Tickets are $20 per person and available on the Drexel web site.

Philly Chef Conference [Official]

Bars Used to Be Closed on Election Day in Pennsylvania

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It’s election day! You should be elated to have the freedom to vote today — and then to head to the bars afterward. It’s not a right you’ve always had in Pennsylvania.

All bars were closed in Pennsylvania on election day until 1973. That’s when an exemption was granted to bars that make 30 percent of their revenues from food and nonalcoholic beverages. Bars below that percentage had to close on voting days until 2001, when the state’s liquor laws were changed.

It wasn’t just Pennsylvania. A report by the federal government’s 1971 National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse said most states prohibited alcohol sales on election day, at least in part. A 1906 report of the Pennsylvania Bar Association said retail and wholesale liquor sellers must be closed between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. on election day in the state.

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In Pennsylvania, Heroin is Cheaper and Easier to Get Than Alcohol

This might explain a little something about Pennsylvania:

Young people in rural Pennsylvania can buy heroin more easily than a bottle ofwine and getting high with the opiate can be cheaper than buying a six pack of beer, according to an investigative report released on Tuesday.

Overdose deaths have climbed steadily since 1990, when drug deaths in rural areas of the state were at one per 100,000 population. As of 2011, that figure stood at 13 deaths per 100,000, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania said in the report.

‘Heroin is cheaper and easier for young people to obtain than alcohol,’ said State Senator Gene Yaw, the Republican chairman of the center, a joint legislative state agency.

We’ve never understood heroin’s appeal. Did y’all miss Kurt Cobain’s suicide? Did you never see Trainspotting? We understand not everybody was around for the 1990s, but you’ve heard of them haven’t you? We’re all in favor of marijuana decriminalization, but jeepers, kids, heroin is bad for you.
Read more »

Corbett: Women Want Liquor Law Reform So They Can Speed Up Dinner Prep

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett would no doubt like to shore up his female support before the election. One way he could do it: Pointing out his support of liquor law reform! Sure, that doesn’t seem like a women’s issue, particularly, but it’s something a lot of Pennsylvanians support.

And, hey, here’s a quote from last month: “I think a lot of people want to be able to walk into a grocery store, particularly, a lot of the women, want to go and buy a bottle of wine for dinner, go down, buy a 6 pack or two 6 packs, buy dinner and go home rather than what I described as 3 stops in Pennsylvania.”

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