Bars Used to Be Closed on Election Day in Pennsylvania


It’s election day! You should be elated to have the freedom to vote today — and then to head to the bars afterward. It’s not a right you’ve always had in Pennsylvania.

All bars were closed in Pennsylvania on election day until 1973. That’s when an exemption was granted to bars that make 30 percent of their revenues from food and nonalcoholic beverages. Bars below that percentage had to close on voting days until 2001, when the state’s liquor laws were changed.

It wasn’t just Pennsylvania. A report by the federal government’s 1971 National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse said most states prohibited alcohol sales on election day, at least in part. A 1906 report of the Pennsylvania Bar Association said retail and wholesale liquor sellers must be closed between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. on election day in the state.

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In Pennsylvania, Heroin is Cheaper and Easier to Get Than Alcohol

This might explain a little something about Pennsylvania:

Young people in rural Pennsylvania can buy heroin more easily than a bottle ofwine and getting high with the opiate can be cheaper than buying a six pack of beer, according to an investigative report released on Tuesday.

Overdose deaths have climbed steadily since 1990, when drug deaths in rural areas of the state were at one per 100,000 population. As of 2011, that figure stood at 13 deaths per 100,000, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania said in the report.

‘Heroin is cheaper and easier for young people to obtain than alcohol,’ said State Senator Gene Yaw, the Republican chairman of the center, a joint legislative state agency.

We’ve never understood heroin’s appeal. Did y’all miss Kurt Cobain’s suicide? Did you never see Trainspotting? We understand not everybody was around for the 1990s, but you’ve heard of them haven’t you? We’re all in favor of marijuana decriminalization, but jeepers, kids, heroin is bad for you.
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Corbett: Women Want Liquor Law Reform So They Can Speed Up Dinner Prep

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett would no doubt like to shore up his female support before the election. One way he could do it: Pointing out his support of liquor law reform! Sure, that doesn’t seem like a women’s issue, particularly, but it’s something a lot of Pennsylvanians support.

And, hey, here’s a quote from last month: “I think a lot of people want to be able to walk into a grocery store, particularly, a lot of the women, want to go and buy a bottle of wine for dinner, go down, buy a 6 pack or two 6 packs, buy dinner and go home rather than what I described as 3 stops in Pennsylvania.”

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So What’s Up With All These Beer Gardens?

phs pop up garden

Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack, answers the question I was afraid to know the answer to, “how are all these beer gardens legal?” Turns out the answer is in an LCB loophole created in a 2012 law change that was meant to make it easier for caterers to operate off-site. What has happened is establishments with liquor licenses have been able to set up beer gardens that operate as catering operations and in some cases, piggybacking permits from multiple establishments to create a full-time beer garden at a fraction of the cost of a full liquor license.

There’s no doubt the beer gardens are great for the city, and a recent trip to this season’s PHS Beer Garden at 15th and South not only saw hundreds enjoying the new outdoor space but the overflow filling Sawatdee, Cambridge, Rex 1516 and Jet Wine Bar as well. The Spruce Street Harbor Park and The Oval are both pushing the city and its residents to reimagine how they interact with areas of the city. But it is interesting to see how these beer gardens have all come about.

And hurray for loopholes.

Pop-up gardens take advantage of legal loophole [Philadelphia Daily News]

Pa. Liquor Control Board Warns It May Have Sold You Exploding Wine

proseco The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board warned consumers Tuesday afternoon it may have sold you wine that could explode. The LCB is telling people to dispose of Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013 as quickly as possible.

”Consumers should use caution when handling this product,” Chairman Joseph E. Brion said in the release. ”While we have not had any reports from consumers who may have been affected, we want to take every precaution in order to avoid a safety issue. Those who purchased the product can contact their local Fine Wine & Good Spirits Store for a full refund.”

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A Letter to Trey Popp


Steve Wildy has weighed in on Facebook with an open letter to Trey regarding the wine pricing at Petruce et al. The letter makes some very good points. We have re-posted the letter in its entirety below. It is lengthy and illuminating. Please take the time to read it. 

Note: Comments are off on this post so the discussion can continue in one place, on the State of the Markup post.

I  recently received wind of online comments made by Jason Malumed, a wine distributor, in response to Philly Mag food writer Trey Popp’s review of Petruce et al. These comments elicited a response from the critic called “A Second Look At Petruce et al: The State of the Markup.” (You should read it) Malumed’s comments sought to point out many factual inaccuracies and outright untruths. Unfortunately, Popp’s second look doesn’t apologize to Petruce co-owner and wine director Tim Kweeder for misquoting his average markups as 3x instead of 2.6x as much as it takes the opportunity to further rail against restaurant wine pricing in general.

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A Watered-Down Booze Bill Could Hit Corbett’s Desk Within Weeks

Looks like no RIP for the PLCB this year. PennLive reports that House majority whip Stan Saylor, formerly a staunch supporter of the full privatization of Pennsylvania liquor sales, has expressed a new willingness to compromise with his Republican colleagues in the Senate and move forward with a plan to bring wine and beer sales only to grocery and convenience stores:

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Pennsylvania Doesn’t Drink That Much Wine, Comparatively

We here in Pennsylvania may be lushes — after all, Philadelphia alone bought over $59 million in wine and $51 million in vodka in 2012.

But that really wasn’t that much: According to a report from Business Insider using data from the Beverage Information Group, Pennsylvania drinks just 5.6 liters of wine per capita — ranking it 37th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia on the list. Alabama drinks more wine than we do!

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