Changes are underway in the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania as a result of legislation enacted this year. The reformed liquor law went into effect after the Pennsylvania Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf approved the measure. The new law means flexible store hours and pricing for Pennsylvania’s more than 600 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores statewide, as well as changes to more than 35 sections of the state’s Liquor Code.
Here’s a look at the changes:
Ninety-four liquor stores in the state’s system will open for Sunday hours for the first time.
Hours will also expand in 188 stores that had previously opened from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Stores will now open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board also plans to add Sunday hours for 26 more stores on Sept. 4, which would expand the Sunday hours to half of its state-run stores. The board has complete discretion on store hours of operation.
HOLIDAYS, INCLUDING GROUNDHOG DAY
State liquor stores can now stay open on holidays.
The law also provides for Groundhog Day-specific regulations. Hotels and restaurants can sell liquor or beer starting at 7 a.m. on the holiday.
About 11,000 businesses with restaurant or hotel licenses that currently sell beer to go can sell takeout wine. The expanded permit carries a $2,000 application fee.
Pizza shops and other licensed eating places licenses that sell beer to go can apply to upgrade to a restaurant license in all parts of the state except the city of Philadelphia. The conversion carries a $30,000 fee.
Wineries can also ship wine directly to customers after a $250 application fee.
The sale of beer at convenience stores, which had previously begun as a result of court rulings, is now covered by state law.
Around 40 state liquor stores will now offer Pennsylvania Lottery tickets for sale. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has plans to expand that number to 170 by Sept. 9 and more than 300 by the fall.
Stores are permitted to sell self-service games like instant ticket machines.
Airport restaurants with proper liquor licenses can begin selling alcoholic beverages two hours earlier, at 5 a.m. The approved legislation also allows restaurants to sell liquor, by the glass or open bottle, for fliers to drink anywhere in the terminal. This extends previously allowed beer and wine sales.
Casinos with the proper liquor license are allowed to sell drinks 24 hours a day, compared with 19 hours under the previous law. Any Casinos looking to take advantage of the law must pay a $1 million casino liquor license application fee.
Liquor stores can now sell to people with Canadian driver’s licenses or other approved identification, like Canadian-issued passports.
Law changes make it illegal to possess, purchase, sell or use powdered alcohol in Pennsylvania, unless the substance is being used for scientific research by an approved institution.