We made America great last week.
A populist upheaval swept aside decades of control by elitist power brokers who reaped the rewards of government while the people had borne the cost. But last week, the carnage stopped right here and it stopped right now.
That’s right: Pennsylvanians can now buy a sixpack at a beer distributor.
Amid all the commotion in Washington, D.C., and on the streets of so many American cities, the antiquated beer laws of the Keystone State were changed almost without notice.
For the first time in nearly a century, Pennsylvanians could actually purchase their favorite adult beverage in a serving size that is somewhat smaller than might be needed to sustain a fraternity house. A mere six cans.
Until last week, state regs enacted after the Prohibition required that distributors sell beer by the full case. That meant 24 bottles, or under the inanely precise rules laid out by Harrisburg, 264 ounces. (That law was amended in 2016 through a bizarre loophole to allow for the sale of 12-packs.)
But sixpacks? The most popular form of malt-based liquid containment in America? My own personal namesake? Illegal in the state’s beer distributors. Sad!
Yes, you could buy a sixer-to-go at a bar. But that always felt like an act of late-night desperation, where you were apt to pay 15 bucks for six bottles of ordinary Yuengling – about the price of a full case if you had actually planned ahead. Never mind that dopey two-sixpack limit (still intact) that had you running back and forth to your car, trying to stock up enough brew for an afternoon of widescreen football.
The complex rules eventually spawned a charade exploited by some grocery stores, in which sixpacks are sold separately from bread and milk at a special cash register in an in-store “restaurant.” In the case of Acme, I use that term loosely. The sixpack ban was lifted under a law signed last fall by our governor, who is a communist. Let that sink in.
Which led me to Worldwide Beverage last weekend.
This neighborhood beer distributor, located in a former post office on Green Lane, has been serving the thirsty citizens of Roxborough for many years. It’s not uncommon to see double-parked cars out front, their trunks open for loading.
On this day, I walked.
“You got sixpacks?”
It was like asking for an illegal onesie at the 7-Eleven.
The guy behind the counter nodded to a small rack against the wall. There wasn’t much of a selection – maybe 15 brands. It’ll be a few more months before distributors can furnish their stores with proper coolers and display cases.
I grabbed a sixpack of New Belgium Voodoo Ranger, a strong (9 percent alcohol) imperial IPA that was a bargain at $11.49 plus sales tax. Speaking of which, unlike bars, delis and grocery stores, beer distributors do not collect Philadelphia’s 10 percent drink tax. It’s another one of those odd loopholes – one that I expect the city will close any day now.
But this day was not about negativity. Yes, it was gray and rainy outside (is it my imagination, or has the sun been absent from the sky since the Inauguration?), but for the first time in my life I left a Pennsylvania beer distributor with a mere sixpack under my arm.
It was the bright dawning of a new world. And it couldn’t have come at a better time because, frankly, in the next four years, we’re gonna need a lot more beer.