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NEW YORK -- If a shopper in Pennsylvania is looking to buy a six-pack of beer to take home, he knows that the last place to look is in a convenience store or supermarket: Since 1933 it has been against the law to sell beer in grocery stores, except those that have restaurants.
State Senator John Rafferty, Republican from Montgomery County, is trying to change that.
Backed by the Pennsylvania Convenience Store Council and Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PCSC/PFMA), Rafferty introduced a bill that would allow six-packs, 12-packs and cases of beer to be sold at licensed c-stores and supermarkets, with or without restaurants.
Currently, most beer is sold in state-licensed beer distributors, but only by the keg and case. Rafferty's bill would allow them to also sell six-packs.
"Rafferty's bill respects those who sell beer now, recognizes the rights of those who want to sell beer, and answers the call of consumers who deserve more choice and convenience," said Randy St. John, PCSC/PFMA's senior vice president of association services.
Rafferty stressed his proposal won't create any new state-issued beer licenses, since a supermarket or convenience store that wants to sell beer would have to buy a license from a business that already has one. That may not be as difficult as it sounds, since there are 12,000 "R" licenses issued to restaurants, 1,300 distributor licenses, and 500 "E" licenses, mainly for delis.
To curtail beer-buying by minors, his bill would also mandate the carding (and or the use of electronic age verification devices) of all beer buyers, "no matter how old they look."