Pa. House passes bill to allow craft beer sales at farmers' markets

Pa. Rep. Dante Santoni's bill now moves on to Senate for consideration

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A proposal to allow craft breweries to sell their beer at farmers' markets and at craft beer and food expositions in Pennsylvania is now one step closer to becoming law.

House Bill 2429, introduced by Pa. Rep. Dante Santoni, D-Berks Co., passed the state House by a vote of 175 to 20. The bill now moves on to the state Senate for consideration.

"The craft brewing industry has grown at an astonishing rate over the last few years," said Santoni, who serves as the Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee. "My legislation will allow these small businesses to participate more fully in the niche markets that exist for their products."

Craft brewers' share of the market grew from 3.8 percent in 2007 to 5.68 percent in 2011, Santoni said.

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

"It is similar to the special permits now offered to Pennsylvania wineries," Santoni said. "The fee paid for the permit 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."

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

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