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PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvanians might be concerned that easier access to carryout beer, as in supermarkets, could lead to an "increase in the rates of underage drinking or other alcohol-related problems," according to results of a new poll released by Terry Madonna Opinion Research for the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania.
Legislation has been proposed in the state capital, Harrisburg, to alter several aspects of the current system, such as permitting retail distributors to sell in less than case quantities; and allowing bars and delicatessens, and by extension, supermarkets and convenience store/gas stations, to sell as many as 18 cans or bottles for off-premises consumption.
Seven hundred and seventy-two adults in the state were interviewed last month for the survey.
"Statewide, people were pretty evenly split over suggestions that we expand the retail sale of beer into supermarkets and convenience stores, with 48.9 percent opposed vs. 47.9 percent favoring," said Dr. G. Terry Madonna, president of Terry Madonna Opinion Research.
Of those interviewed, however, 54.6 percent said they believed that the sale of beer in supermarkets would result in more alcohol-related problems, while 62.7 percent thought that Pennsylvania's more than 1,300 existing retail malt beverage distributors "provide a sufficient selection of imported and domestic beers."
"The poll underscores what consumers have been telling our members all along, that the state-sanctioned system of beer sales works well with people being able to buy 12 or fewer cans or bottles for off-premises consumption from some 11,000 bar and deli licensees and quantities of a case and larger from some 1,300 retail distributors," said David Shipula, president of the beer distributors' group, in a statement.
Still, state residents in the poll were in favor of some change. In the poll, 71.2 percent of respondents wanted retail beer distributors to be able to sell beer in smaller quantities than the current legal purchase of a case of 24 bottles or cans.