Selling Beer in Grocery Stores

Last week, I was on holiday in rural West Virginia.  On a grocery shopping trip, at a relatively small chain store named Shop ‘n Save, I stopped to check out the beer selection.  Readily available at this small grocery store in the middle of nowhere were terrific beers such as Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Flying Dog Doggie Style Pale Ale and Saranac. 

In most states, the sight of good craft beer in a grocery store would be welcome but not exactly earth shattering.  For Pennsylvania residents, however, the mere thought of good beer being available in grocery stores would be cause for a major celebration.  Pennsylvania has one of the most restrictive and limiting set of laws when it comes to availability of alcohol.  While there are some avenues that allow grocery stores to sell beer if there is a cafe or restaurant at site, most grocery stores do not sell beer.  The vast majority of Pennsylvania beers are sold in beer distributors or from delis and bars. 

Now is the time for Pennsylvania to emerge from the dark ages and permit the widespread sale of beers in stores.  Consumers would benefit from increased choices and selection, and grocer stores would benefit from the sales.  The only ones who wouldn’t be in favor of it would be beer distributors who have had a monopoly for far too long.

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