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Controversial Plan To Privatize Pennsylvania’s Liquor Sales Concerns Area Beer Distributors

Members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from parties interested in House Bill 790 during a meeting at Big Top Beverage in Montgomery County. (credit: Brad Segall)

Members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from parties interested in House Bill 790 during a meeting at Big Top Beverage in Montgomery County. (credit: Brad Segall)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

ABINGTON, Pa. (CBS) — Area beer distributors are worried that a controversial plan to move Pennsylvania out of the liquor business could put them out of business.

Surrounded by dozens of cases of beer at Big Top Beverage in Montgomery County on Wednesday, including many brewed in Pennsylvania, members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from parties interested in House Bill 790. The measure privatizes liquor sales, creating 1,200 retail licenses. Beer distributors like Joseph Bound of Bound Beverages in Bensalem worry those licenses will be gobbled up by big box stores, making it hard for him to compete.

“I’m worried that my family will be out of business,” Bound says, “and the people that have been working for me for 25 and 30 years will be out of business, and I think the small businesses will be definitely hurt by this.”

Bound says he would favor modernizing the system to give consumers more choices.

Democrats on the committee call the state store system a valuable asset to Pennsylvania’s general fund and say they didn’t even get a chance to review the bill before it came up for a vote last week. It now heads to the Senate.

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