‘Adult’ Slushies: Pennsylvania’s Latest Alcoholic Rage

When you think of summer, two things usually spring to mind: endless heat, and lazy evenings spent drinking your adult beverage of choice. Well, it seems the state of Pennsylvania has found a way to marry the two, allowing ‘adult slushies’ to be sold in beer stores.

Pennsylvania used to have very strict alcohol laws; wine and liquor could only be sold in state-owned Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores, while beer was only available from beer distributors (mainly in kegs and cases). In 2016, however, a change was made to state liquor laws that permitted beer distributors to sell beer in amounts other than kegs and cases, including growlers. Now, alcohol is allowed to be sold in refillable containers (like stainless growlers), which apparently includes cups with the straw hole taped over. Ted Zeller, a local attorney whose specialty is liquor, explains.

“The definition of a growler is somewhat broad, so the LCB (Liquor Control Board) has actually interpreted it to even mean that it could be Solo cup with a cap on it with tape over the straw hole.”

Growlers became popular thanks to the craft beer market (which is currently worth around $23.5 billion) due to the fact that bars began keeping them on tap — special productions that couldn’t be purchased in six-packs — and people wanted to be able to take them home. Here we are two years later with insulated growlers for camping trips, and steel growlers filled to the brim with alcoholic slushies.

Instead of cherry or blue lemonade, the adult slushies use alcoholic malt beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Bud Light’s “Rita” line, or Seagram’s Escapes spiked drinks. In addition to the ‘refillable cup’ addendum, the new law permitted grocery stores to sell beer, which hit the beer distributors pretty hard. The slushies have given them a little bit of their edge back, says Mike Garner, owner of one such distributor.

“It’s a nice shot in the arm. The competition has become pretty intense, so any nuance, any advantage, any avenue that we can sell malt beverage in a respectable cautious way, then we’re on board. We’re trying to survive like anybody else.”

If you find yourself passing through Pennsylvania, make sure you bring your stainless growler with you!

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