Gov. Tom Corbett today signed a new liquor control law that will allow licensed bars, pubs and taverns to sell “beer-to-go” to customers in Bethlehem during Musikfest or other festivals during which the city’s open beverage container law is temporarily suspended.
“The beer-to-go tradition during Musikfest has dated back decades,” Boscola said, through the release. “I am pleased that local bars and taverns can continue doing business throughout city celebrations as they always have.”
The practice Boscola sought to defend is most common during the 10 days in August, when many downtown bars offer Musikfest mug refills for patrons to take back out into the street for the open-air, multi-venue festival.
The refills from bars, such as Ripper’s Pub and the Old Brewery Tavern, are popular because they are cheaper than getting the mugs filled at a sanctioned Musikfest beer tent.
But during last year’s festival, threats by State Police Liquor Control Enforcement agents to cite the bars forced them to stop. That’s what prompted Boscola to seek a change to the liquor control law, she said today. She said the new law will clarify the issue “for once and for all.”
ArtsQuest sells the collectible mugs – complete with lid and handle – every year as a popular souvenir fundraiser, which, along with the sale of beer and food, helps to pay the cost of putting on the mostly free music festival.
The new law will also apply to other open-air festivals, such as Celtic Classic, during which the city temporarily waives its open beverage container laws.
In addition to addressing the Bethlehem bar controversy, the new law also addresses liquor enforcement issues related to catering, expands business opportunities for Pennsylvania wineries and provides new opportunities for beer distributors, according to the Boscola news release.