Sparklers, Uncle Sam, But No Suds? Labor Dispute Could Result in July 4 Beer Shortage

An ice bucket holding 3 bottles of beer.
Image via iStock.

This 4th of July, fireworks fans may be oo-ing and aah-ing without a brand-name beer companion if a distributors’ labor dispute isn’t resolved.

That could keep some beer brands from reaching eight counties in the region, including Bucks County, writes Michael Tanenbaum for Philly Voice.

Teamster Local 830, representing the region’s three biggest beer distributors, voted Sunday to strike. That decision could limit supplies to area restaurants and beer sellers.

A proposed contract for workers from beer distributors Penn Beer, Origlio Beverage, and Muller Inc. was rejected 308 to 40. If a settlement isn’t reached, this would be the first time Local 830 has gone on strike.

Penn Beer distributes brands that include Budweiser, Natural Light, Michelob and Busch. Origlio distributes Corona, Coors, Blue Moon, Alagash, Heineken, and Guinness, among others. Muller’s brands include Miller Lite, Yards, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

“The hardworking members of Teamsters Local 830 have had enough,” said the union’s Secretary-Treasurer Daniel H. Grace. “The last contract proposal put forth by the Delaware Valley Importers Distribution Association was, quite frankly, insulting. Twelve-hour shifts for five or six consecutive days. That’s excessive.”

In response, the Delaware Valley Importing Distributors Association said in a statement it was shocked by the last-minute decision to authorize a strike and pointed out that the union’s own negotiating committee had unanimously agreed to accept a long-term package that included “the largest wage increase in our 50-plus year history.”

The Association said it was boosting recruiting efforts to ease the demand on current workers and would continue talking with the union to reach an agreement.

A contingency plan is in place to minimize disruptions to suppliers and the market, it added.

Read more at Philly Voice about a possible 4th of July beer shortage.