State Closer to Permitting Private Sales of Beer and Wine

Proposal would keep state liquor stores open.

With the state legislative calendar winding down, two competing proposals have emerged to at least partially privatize the alcohol business in Pennsylvania:

• The Senate bill would permit grocers and convenience story owners to sell wine and beer, while keeping liquor in the state’s 600-some publicly owned stores.

• The House bill “would phase out state stores and allow wine and beer sales in grocery stores with restaurant licenses. Beer distributors would get first crack at 1,200 licenses for one-stop shopping of beer, wine and liquor.”

The House bill is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the state — a boon in light of Harrisburg’s looming $1.5 billion deficit. No estimate has been made for the Senate bill. (TribLive)