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Beer business booming, distributors open

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There’s one business that’s seemingly immune to a supply shortage: beer distributors. But that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of customers.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Car after car entered the drive thru at Pioneer Beer on Green Ridge Street in Scranton.

“People like to drink and in times like this a few beers helps calm your nerves down.”

But the owners here say this is nothing compared to what they’ve seen the last two weeks.

“Business has been hectic the last two weeks,” said co-owner Vince Brunetti. “We’ve been seeing a decrease about 5, 6 o’clock. When it gets dark, people aren’t coming out no more.”

Brunetti co-owns Pioneer Beer with his brother.

Beer distributors are allowed to stay open under Governor Wolf’s order for non-life sustaining businesses to close for at least two weeks.

Liquor stores and bars are closed, though, which the owners believe may be contributing to their spike in sales.

“Because everybody’s panicking, they’re worried about the supply of everything running out. Thank God we still have a good supply of beer here,” Brunetti said. “The wholesalers are still bringing in beers in from the valley.”

The owners did decide to cut back their hours of operation, to encourage people to stay home as much as possible. Starting sometime this week, Pioneer Beer will close at 7 p.m. rather than 9 p.m.

At Pioneer Beer, the staff has always used a drive thru, even before social distancing made it necessary.

“Every sale, I use hand sanitizer, I wipe my hands. I wipe the counter down with Clorox, with bleach every few hours.”

While the owners certainly aren’t complaining about the boom in the beer business, they do hope things go back to normal soon.

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