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PA alcohol sales expand to grocery and convenience stores

PA alcohol sales expand to grocery and convenience stores

Although it’s been widely publicized in Pennsylvania, those outside the state may not be aware that the laws here regarding wine and beer sales have entered the 20th century – sort of. (Yes, I know it’s the 21st century.)

Here’s the deal. In PA, beer must be purchased at package stores, and only by the 12-pack or case. However, some supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer, but only under specific guidelines (i.e. separate registers). And some bars can sell 6-packs for take-out only.

As for wine and liquor, they can only be sold at state-owned stores. Until now, that is. As of earlier this month, consumers may buy up to four bottles of wine at supermarkets and convenience stores that already sell takeout beer. That’s only if the supermarket or convenience store has the right kind of license, though.

Here’s an excerpt from a Supermarket News article explaining the new law.

“Before the retail establishments can make it more convenient for their customers to purchase wine, the stores must clear some hurdles of their own. Those without existing liquor licenses seeking to sell wine for off-premise consumption must first comply with certain provisions regarding these sales. They must apply and obtain a restaurant liquor license known as an ‘R’ license. Once acquired, licensed eateries – and even gas stations – may sell up to two six-packs of takeout beer per transaction. However, in order for retail establishments to begin selling wine in addition to beer, they must also apply for a ‘wine expanded permit,’ which authorizes stores to sell up to four, 750 ML bottles of wine for off-premises consumption.”

There is plenty more, including fees depending on how much wine the retailer purchases, and rules regarding how much square footage can be used in the store as well as how many tables and chairs are required.

It seems more confusing than it needs to be, but the law actually represents some progress. It is likely that alcohol sales in PA will eventually be completely privatized, but not for a long time. For now they are still regulated by lawmakers. Hence my 20th century reference above.

Update: Southeastern PA stores that received approval under the new law to sell wine include the following:

Bucks County:
Acme – Doylestown
ShopRite – Bensalem
ShopRite – Fairless Hills
Giant – New Hope

Chester County:
Acme – Wayne
Giant – Exton

Delaware County:
Acme – Glen Mills
Acme – Media
Giant – Havertown

Montgomery County:
Acme – Flourtown
Giant – Flourtown
Giant – North Wales
Giant – Willow Grove

Philadelphia County:
Thriftway – Aramingo Ave.
Acme – Red Lion Road