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ALTOONA, Pa. -- Sheetz Inc. has gone public in its support of the proposed liquor law reform in the state of Pennsylvania, a part of Gov. Tom Corbett's 2013 budget plan.
"We have been lobbying for adult beverage sales reform for a long time," said Louie Sheetz, executive vice president, marketing, for the convenience restaurant chain. "Although Gov. Corbett's proposal is centered around liquor, we are very excited that beer sales are part of the consideration. Allowing the private sector to manage the sale of alcoholic beverages is long overdue."
As reported by Pennlive.com, Corbett's plan calls for shutting down Pennsylvania’s 600 state-owned liquor stores; allowing 1,200 wine and spirit licenses to be auctioned off; and the issuing of separate licenses for supermarkets, convenience stores and big-box retailers. In addition, restaurants and taverns could sell beer and up to six bottles of wine to go.
Corbett, a Republican, argues that Pennsylvania's liquor laws are 75 years old and haven't been changed since Prohibition. Utah is currently the only other state that sells liquor like Pennsylvania does. The governor estimates that the sale of retail and wholesale licenses would raise an estimated $1 billion. The money would be put into an educational block grant and used for school safety; science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses and programs; and enhanced early education programs.
While Sheetz supports the plan overall, Louie Sheetz does have one criticism.
"The plan in its current form…is considerably restrictive with quantity limits, and licenses -- by requiring annual renewal -- would be too expensive," he said. "Hopefully, the governor will consider modifying some of the measures so that it makes better economic sense for us and other retailers."
If the law is passed, c-stores will be able to sell six-packs with a $15,000-a-year license, while grocery stores could sell six bottles of wine and 12-packs of beer with a license costing $25,000 to $30,000 annually.
Meanwhile, the law has upset beer distributors across the state who would be required to buy an enhanced license for $150,000 to sell smaller packages of beer and wine, and could also purchase separate licenses to carry liquor, the news outlet reported .