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Host: Scott LaMar

Liquor sold in PA grocery stores?

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Mar 28, 2017 8:00 PM
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Last summer, wine was sold at privately owned grocery stores in Pennsylvania.  It was the first time since before Prohibition residents were permitted to do so.  Now there is a proposal to allow retailers to sell liquor.

Three regional supermarkets have already said they would be open to making liquor available in their stores.  The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States estimates there are about 0.67 spirits outlets per 10,000 residents in Pennsylvania.  The national average is 3.80 outlets per 10,000 persons.

According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, these private sales of wine are taking a bite out of state sales.  LCB board member Mike Negra spoke before a state House budget panel earlier this month, saying "It's not like our year-to-year wine sales are down.  It's just we're not running as much of an increase."  Private spirits sales could also eat into state liquor sales, although proponents believe the state could make evenmore money.

Smart Talk explores the possibility of selling hard alcohol through private retailers with David Wojnar, vice president of State Government Relations for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.  We'll also speak with Wendell Young IV, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers 1776 - the union representing state liquor store employees - about why private liquor sales might not be a good idea.

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David Wojnar - Vice President of State Government Relations, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

EMAILS

- The state run stores decide what spirits to stock, on their own. If you were to favour an Austrian rum, not sold in a PA run store, you would be forced to drive to Maryland in order to get it. It is, however, illegal to do so. Therefore technically the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania decides what spirits I am legally allowed to own or consume in my own house.                             - Thomas

- I've heard there are states where you can buy a bottle of vodka at any gas station.  We don't need that arrangement in Pennsylvania.                                 - hekoyah22

I live in Gettysburg and many of the restaurants can't serve alcohol.  When I go to an Italian restaurant I would like a glass of wine. When I go to a Mexican restaurant I would like a beer or Margherita, but I can't get it. It would complete the eating experience and would help the restaurant's bottom line. This whole issue is made too difficult.         - Richard 

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