State Liquor Monopoly Drives Residents To Illegally Cross the Border

Government officials express shock and surprise


HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania's laws regarding the purchase of liquor, wine and beer are frustrating to residents of the state and confusing, or laughable, to many visitors.

But yes, in the Keystone state it is still impossible – in the second decade of the 21st century – to buy a bottle of wine in the same establishment as a six-pack of beer. In fact, it's impossible to buy a six-pack of beer and a case of beer in the same location.

Then there are the taxes. All liquor is subject to a 30 percent markup, the 18 percent "Johnstown Flood Tax" (despite the fact that Johnstown is has long been rebuilt — since the last major flood, in 1936) and the typical 6 percent state sales tax.

It's no wonder that many Pennsylvanians flock across the border to Delaware to buy alcohol – even though doing so is technically against the law. We decided to find out exactly how many do it.