Pa. may allow sale of craft beers at farmers' markets, food expos

Pa. may allow craft beers to be sold at farmers' markets

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A bill that would allow craft breweries to sell their beer at farmers' markets and craft beer and food expositions will be considered by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

House Bill 2429, sponsored by Pa. Rep. Dante Santoni, D-Berks Co., was reported unanimously out of the House Liquor Control Committee on Tuesday.

"The craft brewing industry has grown at an astonishing rate in the past several years," Santoni said. "House Bill 2429 would allow these small businesses to participate more fully in the niche markets that exist for their products."

In 2007, craft brewers had 3.8% of the market, compared to 5.68% in 2011, Santoni said.

"That's a fast growing segment, and I expect my legislation will allow them to expand even further," said Santoni, the Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee.

With the appropriate permits, craft breweries would be able to offer tasting and sales of their products for off-premises consumption.

"It would be similar to the special permit now offered to wineries," Santoni said.

The fee paid would be $30 a day for each day of permitted use, not to exceed 30 days. The total number of days for all special permits would not exceed 100 days in a calendar year.

The special permits would be available only to those craft breweries that annually produce less than 25,000 barrels of beer.

Nationally, almost 2,000 craft brewers provide more than 103,000 jobs, including staff serving in brewpubs, Santoni said.

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