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Pennsylvania Moves Closer To Privatized Liquor Sales

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 05:22 pm

For the first time in its history, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has approved legislation to privatize the state liquor system. While the Pennsylvania House has twice passed a similar bill, this is the first time the Senate also has approved it, by a 27-22 vote.

Under the bill, state liquor stores would be phased out and the state-run beer wholesale system would be leased to private interests.

The liquor privatization plan would allow about 14,000 beer-sales license holders—retailers, restaurants, grocery stores and others—to pay a fee for permission to also sell wine, liquor or both. It also would provide a pathway to the closure of the approximately 600 state-controlled wine and liquor stores and allow for direct shipment of wine from other states. However, the bill still risks a veto from Gov. Tom Wolf, who has opposed privatization of the liquor system in the past but has agreed to review this new bill on its merits. Proponents of the privatization bill cite convenience for consumers as a primary benefit, as well as increased tax revenue for the state. Its opponents are concerned that it will result in elimination of state jobs and revenue.

The bill would allow grocery stores with restaurants to buy licenses to sell limited amounts of wine and liquor for carryout, along with beer they can sell now. It also would allow consumers to purchase up to five bottles of wine and two bottles of liquor at some grocery stores and convenience stores with eating areas.

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Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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