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Northeast Pa. beer distributor to close

JENKINS TWP. - One of Northeast Pennsylvania's largest wholesale beer distributors will close in September, a spillover effect of the 2008 merger of Miller and Coors brewing companies.

JENKINS TWP. - One of Northeast Pennsylvania's largest wholesale beer distributors will close in September, a spillover effect of the 2008 merger of Miller and Coors brewing companies.

United Beverage of NEPA in Jenkins Township, Luzerne County, is selling its beer brands. Miller, St. Pauli Girl and Verdi are being sold to LT Verrastro in Scranton; Yuengling and Rolling Rock are going to Northeast Eagle in Pittston; and Genesee, Pabst, Straub and Dos Equis are being dealt to Banko Beverage in Allentown.

About 30 employees, including drivers and salesmen, work at United Beverage, which is a wholesaler that delivers kegs and cases of beer to bars, restaurants and distributors in six counties throughout Northeast Pennsylvania.

Many of the 30 employees will get jobs at the three other companies but there could be some job losses, said Mark Nobile, co-owner of United Beverage.

The two beer giants Miller and Coors teamed up to distribute their products as one entity, MillerCoors, and that resulted in consolidations, Nobile said.

"We are, in the state of Pennsylvania, protected by franchise law, so it's not a forced consolidation. We looked long term as to what would happen in the future and what would be best going forward. We came to the decision that now was the time to sell off our existing franchises to other distributors in the marketplace," Nobile said.

Nobile declined to disclose the price.

Officials from LT Verrastro, Northeast Eagle and Banko Beverage did not return calls seeking comment.