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ALTOONA, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board granted a malt beverage license for the restaurant segment of the Sheetz convenience restaurant, located here, allowing the retailer to sell malt beverages as of 1:30 p.m. yesterday.
The license allows the retailer to sell carry out six-packs of beer in 12- or 16-ounce bottles or 12-packs of 10-, 12- or 16-ounce bottles. No 40-ounce individual bottles will be sold, however, and Sheetz can not allow consumption of the malt beverages on its premises. Customers are limited to two six-packs each, and can not purchase beer from its drive thru, according to a report in the Post-Gazette.
The ability to sell beer at the location was an effort that took some time, according to the company. Sheetz originally asked for a six-pack license, known as an "eating place malt license," in 2004 when it asked the Liquor Control Board to approve transfer of a license from a nearby bar and grill to the Sheetz, according to the newspaper.
The control board approved a conditional license that year, stating that Sheetz must first fortify the separation between the gas station and the restaurant section. Following this, protestors and the Malt Beverages Distributors Association brought a case to the state courts to intervene in the licensing. The state court sided with the association, allowing it to interrupt the proceeding.
The Sheetz location is a 10,000-square-foot facility, featuring a full espresso bar, seating for 54 and a drive-thru.
The state's restrictive liquor bylaws prevented Sheetz from selling alcoholic beverages prior to now. Six-pack beer sales in Pennsylvania are usually restricted to bars and delis, according to the report. Although Sheetz is not the first convenience store to sell malt beverages in the state -- a Wawa location in West Philadelphia, Pa. was permitted to sell beer, but has since sold its license -- it is one of few that can.
"We strive to provide customers with products and services that make their lives easier," said Stan Sheetz, president and CEO, Sheetz, Inc. "For our customers who buy beer, it is an added convenience for them to be able to purchaser it at our restaurant when they come in for dinner or to pick up other items."
Sheetz currently has licenses to sell alcoholic beverages in 107 stores in Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. This license is a first for Sheetz in the state of Pennsylvania, where it operated nearly 200 stores, the report stated.
All Sheetz employees must undergo training and certification to ring alcohol sales in its stores. The classes, called Sheetz Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) and Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS), use a third party system provided by Health Solutions to teach frontline workers how to sell alcoholic products responsibly.
"The sale of age-restricted products is something that we take very seriously at Sheetz," said Stan Sheetz. "We have a long history and a lot of experience dealing with the sale of age restricted products, including beer and we have always been committed to being a responsible retailer. It will be no different at the Altoona Convenience Restaurant."