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Pennsylvania Congress Approves Wine In Groceries And Direct Shipping As Governor Mulls Bill

June 8, 2016

Pennsylvania’s state congress has approved a sweeping bill that would allow wine sales in some grocery outlets and direct shipping of wine to consumers, among other changes. Governor Tom Wolf called the measure “historic liquor modernization legislation that provides greater customer convenience,” but said he will conduct a final review before signing it.

Under HB 1690, which passed on a bipartisan basis, Pennsylvania groceries with existing licenses to sell beer, such as Wegmans, would be allowed to sell up to four bottles of wine per customer. The bill also allows restaurants and hotels to sell up to four bottles of wine per customer for takeout, as well as direct shipment of up to 36 cases of wine to individual Pennsylvania consumers per year. Additionally, it lifts the restrictions on hours, Sunday sales and flexible pricing at state-owned liquor stores.

The Distilled Spirits Council issued a statement blasting the bill as unfair to spirits, whose retail sales would remain limited to state-owned Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) stores. In its latest fiscal year (through last June), the PLCB reported sales up 4% to $2.34 billion. PLCB executives recently told SND that wine accounts for about 42% of its retail sales compared with spirits’ 58%, although the two categories’ unit volume is roughly equal.

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