Pennsylvania Loosens Alcohol Laws Again, Allowing Wine Sales In Grocery Stores

In another move to loosen its historically strict liquor laws, legislators in the state of Pennsylvania have voted to allow grocery stores and other retailers to sell wine, and convenience stores to sell beer.

Until now, the sale of wine and spirits has only been permitted through stores owned by wineries or else the state-controlled retailer, Fine Wine and Good Spirits. Just last month, the state approved nine gas stations to begin selling six-packs of beer, which had previously only been available through licensed beer stores or distributors and bars and restaurants.

An initial bill on behalf of more lax wine sales passed through the state senate in December, and has now passed through the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 157 to 31, with mostly Republican support. The proposal would allow retailers with takeout beer licenses to sell up to four bottles of wine per customer, as well as the sale of wine from licensed supermarkets, delis, hotels, and bars and restaurants. Moving alcohol sales into the private sector will generate an estimated $150 million in new revenue for the state government, according to House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R).

In a statement, Governor Tom Wolf called the proposal "historic liquor modernization legislation that provides greater customer convenience" that would also bring "much-needed revenue to help balance our budget and bringing our wine and spirits system into the 21st century."