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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 21-1225


Title 40—LIQUOR


[ 40 PA. CODE CH. 5 ]

Cleaning of Malt or Brewed Beverage Dispensary Systems

[51 Pa.B. 4228]
[Saturday, July 31, 2021]

 The Liquor Control Board (Board), under the authority of section 207(i) of the Liquor Code (47 P.S. § 2-207(i)), amends § 5.51 (relating to cleaning of malt or brewed beverage dispensing systems) to read as set forth in Annex A.


 The Board amends its regulations regarding the cleaning of malt or brewed beverage dispensing systems, which delivers what is commonly known as ''draft beer.'' In this amendment, the frequency of dispensary system cleaning is decreased from every 7 days to every 14 days. The amendment also clarifies that every licensee using such a dispensary system for selling malt or brewed beverages (beer)—including but not limited to limited wineries, limited distilleries and distilleries—is subject to this regulation.

 A dispensing system begins with beer that is stored in a keg. Pressurized gas enters the keg and forces the beer up and into a plastic hose, whose length it travels until it reaches a faucet. The beer waits in the plastic hose until the faucet is opened, whereupon the beer is poured into a container. For purposes of this amendment, the dispensing system runs from the keg to the faucet.

 A dispensing system is, because of its function, usually wet and located in a dark area. As a result, dispensing systems can readily harbor bacteria, yeast, mold and ''beer stones,'' which occur when organic compounds in the beer bind with compounds in the brewing water and form calcium oxalate, the chemical name for beer stones. Cleaning the dispensing system is necessary to prevent these items from spoiling the beer.

 However, the licensee incurs costs for cleaning the dispensing system, as well as the loss of the beer that is present in the hose. Therefore it is important to find the right frequency for cleaning, so as to avoid requiring the licensee to incur unnecessary expense and avoid needless waste of beer.

 The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA) and the Brewers of Pennsylvania (BOP) asked the Board to consider revising the cleaning frequency requirement from once every 7 days to once every 14 days. PRLA and BOP note that the Brewer's Association, an organization of more than 5,000 United States brewery members, advocates cleaning a dispensing system every 14 days.1 Based on this information, this amendment changes the frequency of cleaning the dispensing system from once every 7 days to once every 14 days. Licensees are still required to maintain clean dispensary systems, under §§ 5.51(b) and 5.54 (relating to responsibility for condition of equipment), regardless of how often the lines are cleaned.

 Section 5.51(a) is amended to clarify that all licensees who use a dispensing system are subject to the regulation. The current language—''A licensee that uses a malt or brewed beverage dispensing system in its licensed premises shall clean the system at its sole expense''—was proposed in 2007 and finalized in 2010. At that time, Pennsylvania-licensed limited wineries, limited distilleries and distilleries did not have the authority to serve malt or brewed beverages on their licensed premises.

 However, Act 39 of 2016 (P.L. 273, No. 39) gave Pennsylvania-licensed manufacturers the right to sell, for on-premises consumption, products made by other Pennsylvania-licensed manufacturers. As a result, Pennsylvania-licensed limited wineries, limited distilleries and distilleries may sell beer produced by Pennsylvania-licensed breweries for on-premises consumption. 47 P.S. §§ 5-505.2(a)(6.1) and 5-505.4(b)(1) and (c)(1). The amendment clarifies that if the Pennsylvania-licensed manufacturer serves beer through a dispensing system, the manufacturer is subject to the regulation regarding the cleaning of the dispensing system.

Affected Parties

 The affected parties include any licensee that sells draft beer, including licensed restaurants, hotels and clubs, as well as licensed breweries, limited wineries, distilleries and limited distilleries. As of April 6, 2021, there were approximately 15,000 active licensees that could potentially serve draft beer.

Paperwork Requirements

 This final-form rulemaking does not impose any new paperwork requirements on licensees.

Fiscal Impact

 It is anticipated that the fiscal impact would be beneficial to licensees, since it will effectively halve the annual expenses of cleaning the dispensing system.

Effective Date

 These regulations will become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Contact Person

 Questions regarding this final-form rulemaking should be addressed to Rodrigo Diaz, Chief Counsel, Jason Worley, Deputy Chief Counsel or Norina Foster, Assistant Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel, Liquor Control Board, Room 401, Northwest Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17124-0001.

Regulatory Review

 Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P.S. § 745.5(a)), on February 28, 2020, the Board submitted a copy of the notice of proposed rulemaking, published at 50 Pa.B. 1650 (March 21, 2020) to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and the Chairpersons of the House Liquor Control Committee and Senate Committee on Law and Justice for review and comment.

 Under section 5(c) of the Regulatory Review Act, the Board shall submit to IRRC and the House and Senate Committees copies of the comments received during the public comment period, as well as other documents when requested. The Board received comments from the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association and IRRC. The Board has responded to each of the commenters in separate documents. In preparing the final-form rulemaking the Board has considered all comments from IRRC, the House and Senate Committees, and the public.

 Under section 5.1(j.2) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P.S. § 745.5a(j.2)), on June 16, 2021, the final-form rulemaking was deemed approved by the House and Senate Committees. Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, the final-form rulemaking was deemed approved by IRRC effective June 17, 2021.


 The Board finds that:

 (1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201 and 1202), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2 (relating to notice of proposed rulemaking required; and adoption of regulations).

 (2) The amendments to the Board's regulations in the manner provided in this order are necessary and appropriate for the administration of the Liquor Code.


 The Board, acting under the authorizing statute, orders that:

 (a) The regulations of the Board, 40 Pa. Code Chapter 5, are amended by amending § 5.51 to read as set forth in Annex A.

 (b) The Board shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

 (c) This order shall become effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.


 (Editor's Note: See 51 Pa.B. 5680 (July 3, 2021) for IRRC's approval order.)

Fiscal Note: 54-101. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A






§ 5.51. Cleaning of malt or brewed beverage dispensing systems.

 (a) Any licensee, including but not limited to a retail licensee, a brewery, a limited winery, a limited distillery or a distillery, that uses a malt or brewed beverage dispensing system in its licensed premises shall clean the system at its sole expense. One licensee may not clean a malt or brewed beverage dispensing system for another licensee.

 (b) The method of cleaning must leave the entire malt or brewed beverage dispensing system in a clean and sanitary condition. The cleaning method used must include cleaning the entire system with a chemical cleaning solution or other cleaning method approved by the Board. The following alternative cleaning methods have Board approval:

 (1) Live steam.

 (2) Hot water and soda solution, followed by thorough rinsing with hot water.

 (c) The frequency of cleaning for the malt or brewed beverage dispensing system shall be as follows:

 (1) Once every 14 days for the faucets.

 (2) Once every 14 days for the dispensing lines, valves, joints, couplers, hose fittings, washers, o-rings, empty beer detectors (known as ''FOBS'') and draft foam control units, except if the licensee has an operating ultrasonic, electromagnetic or other system that retards the growth of yeast and bacteria in the dispensing lines. If such a system is installed and operating, the licensee shall follow the cleaning frequency and cleaning method guidelines of the system's manufacturer.

 (3) The Board may approve different cleaning frequencies.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-1225. Filed for public inspection July 30, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]



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