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Mentzer Applauds House Passage of Liquor Privatization Measure

HARRISBURG – In an effort to get state government out of the business of selling wine and spirits, Rep. Steven Mentzer (R-Lancaster) today voted in favor of a liquor privatization measure that passed the House with a final vote of 105-90.

House Bill 790 would allow retail licenses to be sold in an effort to provide greater consumer choice and convenience. More specifically, this bill would make available 1,200 licenses to sell wine and spirits, with beer distributors given the first opportunity to obtain a license. After the first year, the remaining licenses would be sold to the public.

“This is long overdue in Pennsylvania. I’m asked time and time again: why is Pennsylvania one of the only two states in the nation still clinging to the system?” said Mentzer. “I believe this bill is a good first step toward making this needed change, and we are proceeding with caution by phasing out the current state-controlled wine and spirits stores gradually, as the number of privately operated stores grow.”

Under this legislation, grocery store wine licenses and wine-to-go permits would also be created. Beer, however, would not be available for purchase in grocery stores, unless they have a restaurant license. To help guarantee that minors are not purchasing wine, House Bill 790 would forbid customers purchasing wine in a grocery from using the self-checkout lane.

In addition, to maintain the safety of all residents across Commonwealth, this legislation would increase monetary penalties for all liquor violations, require all new licensees to use an ID scanner before selling alcohol, and increase funding for the state police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

“We are hoping to expand customer choice and convenience, but at the same time—we still want to ensure that we aren’t letting alcohol fall into the hands of minors and substance abusers,” said Mentzer. “By taking away government responsibility to buy, sell and promote alcohol sales—we are allowing the PLCB to devotes its energies to enforcement, compliance and education.”

Furthermore, this bill would also allow consumers to purchase growlers, six-packs or 12-packs at beer distributorships. Under current law, only full cases of beer may be purchased from distributors. The only way to act as a “one-stop shop” for beer, wine and spirits is to be a beer distributor and obtain a wine and spirits license.  Any wine and spirits licenses purchased by an unlicensed entity will not include the sale of beer.

“Citizens of this state have asked lawmakers for changes to this system, they understand the current state store system is flawed and does not have a place in today’s fast-paced, “one-stop shop” mentality,” added Mentzer. “I think we made a historic first step today toward giving them what they want and deserve.”

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Abbey Fosnot
717.260.6222 /
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