A law signed in June by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, allows grocery stores that sell beer to sell wine as well. Previously, hard liquor and wines could be bought only in state-owned and state-operated wine and spirits stores.
The new legislation, which went into effect in August, also permits restaurants and hotels to sell up to four bottles of wine to go, permits Pennsylvania residents to have wine shipped directly to their homes, permits gas stations to sell six-packs, permits stores (state-owned or private) to open on state holidays and to remain open longer on Sundays, and permits state-owned stores to engage in "flexible pricing" for "special discounts and sales."
"This historic legislation is a tremendous leap into bringing Pennsylvanian into the 21st century," says Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai, who sponsored the legislation. "This privatization bill will bring consumers the added choice and convenience they have been asking for since Prohibition."
Supporters of the state's monopoly system hope these reforms will help keep it in place.
"Making smart changes at the state's Fine Wine and Good Spirits Stores will also help to maintain thousands of existing jobs and increase revenue to begin closing our huge budget gap," says Democratic State Rep. Paul Costa.
In a 2013 poll, 61 percent of Pennsylvania residents supported ending government sale and distribution of alcohol.