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Change on Tap
06-12-2017
Posted by: Kimberly Kratz

On January 17, 2017, Pennsylvania legislators passed Act 166 affecting the beverage distribution business with the most impactful changes since the 80s, according to Link Beverage owner, Skip Link.

 

To understand how striking the law change is, it helps to be a hamster on the wheel of time; to recall a bit of history. Opened in 1965, Link Beverages of Coopersburg began its business in a tiny 1,000-square foot building. Selling beer by the case, Link said, “We saw in the 70s that discount beer sales were starting to take place to sell beer cheap.”

 

So, in 1974, Link Beverage purchased an 8,000-square foot plot in Coopersburg where they built a beverage warehouse to allow for increasing demand for inexpensive, 16-ounce returnable bottles. By the 80s, two new trends emerged. Instead of one (usually male) buyer, Link noticed the clientele shift to groups of college students, “usually five or six guys with two girls.” But that changed too as the women began purchasing beer without male counterparts. At the same time, with the advent of throwaways, returnable bottle production began to wane.

 

People’s attitudes and the social sophistication surrounding beer today have refocused the industry. In the last ten years, Link said, “the popularity of craft breweries has brought about a total transformation not just of packaging, but of the type of beer sold and customers who buy it.”

 

The new PA law allows distributors to sell beer in any amount from a half barrel to six packs, growlers and even single bottles or cans. “I never realized the magnitude of the change as it was happening,” Link said.

 

“We love the beer business and we want to remain competitive,” Link said.

 

“We now carry 400-500 craft and specialty beers,” and Link Beverages was the first distributor to offer a beer sampling station. Three of their staff are Certified Beer Specialists who help to educate customers and can assist with food pairings.

 

Most recently the PA State House passed a bill allowing beer sales in supermarkets, but Link fears this will devastate those beer distributors that offer significant variety and expertise well beyond that which limited shelf space in grocery stores can offer.

 

Stop by Link Beverages for a growler or to mix and match your choice of craft and specialty beers from their huge selection. 

  • Change on Tap

  • Change on Tap

  • Change on Tap