HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania lawmakers are looking into ending the stateï¿½ï¿½s monopoly on wine and liquor sales, but thereï¿½ï¿½s been no discussion on revising the Keystone stateï¿½ï¿½s convoluted beer laws, the Associated Press reports.
Court decisions and competition has given beer buyers more options, but Pennsylvaniaï¿½ï¿½s regulations restricting what businesses can stock beer and in what amounts has been a source of confusion and complaints. Distributors and grocers are arguing for more consumer-friendly rules on beer sales.
One measure would let retailers who hold a liquor and wine license to also have a beer license without changing current laws governing beer. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai wants to keep beer out of the liquor and wine privatization debate. "It's going to be a tough enough fight without bringing (beer) into it," said Steve Miskin, Turzai spokesman.
Currently, 45 states let supermarkets and convenience stores sell beer, said David McCorkle, president of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association. "Beer sales are the priority, frankly, for the supermarkets and convenience stores."
Sheetz Inc. took distributors to court before the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board finally gave the chain a license to sell beer at an Altoona, Pa., location in 2010.
"In the end, what you have here ... is the same customer transaction convenience that we have in our stores in North Carolina," said Louie Sheetz, executive vice president. Customers can stop for gasoline, a six-pack and a sandwich, he said.
Sheetz wants beer to be part of any discussion on reforming the stateï¿½ï¿½s wine and liquor laws. "You've got to wonder why beer wouldn't be part of that movement," he said.