State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

After liquor expansion, talks turn to logistics

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jul 18, 2016 9:19 PM

Liquor laws are significantly loosening in Pennsylvania for the first time in decades. (Photo by AP)

Beginning on August 8th, Pennsylvanians will be able to buy alcohol a little more easily.

A long list of liquor law changes was included in the state budget, marking the first shift in the commonwealth's alcohol regulations in decades.

Pennsylvania is one of 17 states in the country where the government controls liquor sales. Of these so-called "control states," it's long been one of the few to have beer and wine sales at least partially state-run.

But now, wine and liquor stores can now be opened on holidays, and there are no longer any restrictions on Sunday store hours.

Wine will also be sold in grocery stores, and can be shipped directly to homes.

Liquor Control Board Chairman, Tim Holden said the agency has had to move quickly to prepare for all the changes.

"We look at this as the biggest liquor code extension since prohibition," Holden said. "So there's a lot of things that, as we mentioned, give us a lot of opportunities moving forward.

But there's some challenges."

Holden said wine wholesaling will likely be the biggest hurdle--he's expecting at least 300 grocery stores to apply for licenses as soon as they're available.

He said getting everything in order with retailers will take some time.

"We are going to make sure one thing, is that we get it right," he said. "It's not to get it done quickly, it's to get it done efficiently."

The LCB has hired additional consultants to deal with the logistics.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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