Freeman bill to help craft breweries, distilleries passes Pa. House

HARRISBURG, May 2 – Craft breweries and distilleries in Pennsylvania that provide on-premises consumption could remain open past midnight on New Year's Eve and one other designated day a year, under legislation which passed the House of Representatives, according to prime sponsor state Rep. Robert Freeman.

“With its rich, brewing history dating back to the 19th century, Pennsylvania has become a fertile ground for the burgeoning craft beer movement. The commonwealth boasts an array of craft breweries (over 500 in total producing more than 3 million barrels per year) each contributing its precise taste to the state’s brewing narrative,” said Freeman, D-Northampton. “The Weyerbacher Brewing Co. and Two Rivers Brewing Co., both located in my hometown of Easton, have been trailblazers in introducing unique and experimental beers to the Pennsylvania craft beer scene for some time.”

To help the craft beer movement continue to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Freeman introduced H.B. 2150 to allow breweries that provide on-premises consumption to remain open past midnight on New Year's Eve until 2 a.m. on New Year's Day. The businesses also would be allowed to apply for a one-time use permit to remain open until 2 a.m. on one other day of their choosing during the year. Breweries currently are only allowed to provide sales until midnight Monday through Saturday and 11 p.m. on Sundays.

The bill was amended to include distilleries.

“Adding this flexibility to operating hours would enable these businesses to remain competitive during the New Year’s holiday and allow for late hours if they are holding a special event during the year,” Freeman said.

“Unlike the impersonal nature of heavily produced beers, craft breweries frequently emphasize community involvement and aid. This experience of belonging extends past the brewing technique, fostering a connection between brewers and purchasers. Brewery excursions, tastings, and occasions similarly enlarge the community experience, supplying structures for breweries to showcase their creations and for beer fans to discover new flavors.”

House Bill 2150 heads to the state Senate for consideration.