Distributors revamp businesses ahead of 6-pack law change coming next week

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – New ways to buy beer arrive next week, and distributors are stocking up on sixers.

“We’re really excited about the whole six-pack idea,” said George True, owner of Oakhurst Beverage off Linglestown Road in Harrisburg.

His shelves are already stocked with the small cardboard cartons, but you can’t pick a six here just yet. True can’t wait for next week.

“This week especially,” he said, “we’ve had it already where some people come up from the Farm Show, they just merely want to get a six-pack and we’re not able to do that. And we actually end up sending them someplace else to get their six-packs.”

When the law changes in a week, distributors will be able to sell kegs, cases, 12-packs, six-packs, four-packs, growlers, 12-ounce bottles, 32-ounce bottles — the list is extensive.

True is buying into the craft market. “That’s where the future of this business is going,” he said.

He’s dumping thousands of dollars into his business for new coolers, new shelving, and modifications. It’ll mean less variety, but more options.

Plus, both of the restaurants on either side of his shop are BYOB. So as an added marketing strategy, True plans to work with them to try to sell more single servings.

And he’s far from alone. Take Valley Green Beverage in York County, for instance; they installed eight beer taps to serve up growlers on the go. They’re confident they’ll get a good return on their investment.

That’s not part of True’s plan right now, but that could always change. “We’re all flying by the seat of our pants. We’re not sure what’s going to happen.”

Not everyone’s on board with the changes. Some groups lobbied against the bill last year, arguing it would harm bars and restaurants that depend on that business.

Distributors like True say those places have other ways to make money. Now he’s investing a lot to make more himself.

“Build it and they will come,” he said.

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