In a few short months, Pennsylvania residents could be able to purchase a bottle of wine at a convenience store, supermarket, hotel or restaurant.
The Pennsylvania House finally approved the measure, which had passed the Senate late in 2015. Now it lands on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
The bill specifically allows hotels and restaurants, along with convenience stores and supermarkets already licensed to sell beer, to sell up to four bottles of wine to go per customer. The measure also lets wine importers and producers ship directly to consumers.
Wolf has referred to the proposal as “historic liquor modernization legislation that provides greater customer convenience to the people of Pennsylvania.” However, the governor did not indicate whether or not he will sign it.
“Once the bill reaches my desk, I will conduct a final review of the legislation to ensure it meets my goals of enhancing the customer experience, increasing much-needed revenue to help balance our budget, and bringing our wine and spirits system into the 21st century,” he said.
In late May, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board “freed the six-pack” in gasoline stations and convenience stores by approving nine applications permitting businesses with appropriate protections to sell up to 192 ounces of malt or brewed beverages.
“Freeing the six pack will make the Commonwealth more inviting for customers and businesses,” said Wolf.
“Enactment of this law—which includes initiatives the PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) has long supported, including flexibility in pricing, extended store hours, expanded Sunday sales, enhanced direct shipping options, loyalty programs, additional couponing opportunities and Pennsylvania Lottery sales at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores—heralds an exciting new beginning for the PLCB and Pennsylvania consumers of wine, spirits and beer,” said PLCB Chair Tim Holden.
The PLCB has begun a comprehensive review of the many significant changes this law makes to regulatory, licensing, product procurement and marketing activities, among others.
The PLCB plans to move quickly in establishing new licensing applications and processes for direct wine shipping, casino licenses and wine permits for hotel and restaurant licensees. The agency also will immediately begin considering which stores will feature lottery sales and/or have expanded Sunday sales hours as soon as the law becomes effective in August.
“We commit to cooperation and open communication with the administration, the legislature, licensees, wine and spirits vendors, beer distributors, our retail customers and other stakeholders as we begin transforming Pennsylvania’s beverage alcohol landscape in coming weeks and months,” said Holden.