The Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee recently approved the expansion of the number of outlets allowed to sell spirits in Pennsylvania, which would greatly improve consumer access and convenience.
The legislation, HB 438 and HB 991, allows limited spirits sales in restaurants similar to wine and beer, and allows partner retail outlets to augment the number of state-run wine and spirits stores.
This is a significant and welcomed next step toward modernizing the Pennsylvania market and builds on the momentum of last year’s Act 39. Allowing spirits sales in grocery stores, beer retailers and restaurants is a common-sense solution to providing consumers one-stop shopping, while allowing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) to generate more revenue without raising prices.
By any measure, Pennsylvania spirits consumers are inconvenienced by a lack of outlets. According to an economic analysis by the Council, adding 900 spirits outlets would net the state $100 million in additional revenue. Pennsylvania currently has 0.67 spirits outlets per 10,000 population, versus a national average of 3.80 spirits outlets per 10,000 population. If Pennsylvania wants additional profits from its liquor business, it needs more outlets.
Allowing businesses that currently sell wine and beer to also sell spirits would net the PLCB additional revenue without having the capital burden or risk of opening additional state-run stores. Expanding the number of spirits outlets is a win for the agency, a win for state coffers, and most importantly, a huge win for consumers.