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rjbs (4671)

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I'm a Perl coder living in Bethlehem, PA and working Philadelphia. I'm a philosopher and theologan by training, but I was shocked to learn upon my graduation that these skills don't have many associated careers. Now I write code.

Journal of rjbs (4671)

Thursday August 30, 2007
09:25 AM

getting wasted in pennsylvania

[ #34285 ]

No, I'm not getting wasted. That's not my bag.

I have often found myself explaining the fairly weird way that buying alcohol works in Pennsylvania. I thought I'd share the madness.

The state of Pennsylvania has a monopoly on the sale of wine and spirits. If you want to buy a bottle of whisky, you have to go to one of the "Wine and Spirits" stores run by the Liquor Contorl Board. We Pennsylvanias call them "state stores." At the state store, you can buy wine and hard liquor, but not beer or, well, anything else. If you want to make lousy bourbon sours, you'll need to get bourbon from the state store and sour mix from the grocery.

Does anyone else think it's funny that the welcome message on the LCB website is blurry?

Vinyards can sell their own wine, either at the vinyard or at a dedicated store.

If you want beer, you have a few choices. You can go to a place that serves beer with food. The common cases are delis and pizzarias. If you can buy a sandwich and a beer, then it's legal to buy a bottle or a six pack to go. Actually, you can buy two six packs, but not more. In practice, you can buy as much as you want by making several trips, but you won't want to, because it's expensive. You can pay as much as $10 for a six pack of decent beer.

If you want to buy beer in quantity, you need to go to a beverage distributor. These are usually like warehouses, with lots of beer and soda. Potato chips and beef jerky and sometimes cigars are often on hand. A case of decent beer will run you between $25 and $35. I saw a case of Delirium Tremens on the shelf last night for $83.

Beverage distributors that sell beer are closed on Sundays, as are state stores, so if you want a drink on Sunday you'll have to go to a restaurant.

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  • Only with state-run stores instead of 3.2% beer.

    Arkansas's still funnier, though, with dry counties and club cards and all.
  • Delirium tremens is my favorite. I have several bottles waiting for me in my fridge, happily purchased at my local PA beer distributor!
  • It's like we're living in the bible belt -- except even there you can buy beer at the local kwik-e mart, or better yet, the grocery!

    FWIW, there's a case in the PA Supreme Court that may open the way for beer sales in convenience stores and groceries: Sheetz may resume beer sales as Supreme Court considers appeal []

    • That PA Supreme Court story was front page news [] in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

      That story kind of pisses me off. Everyone pays lip service to how wonderful competition is, but when someone comes along and threatens their own little monopoly, they go to the courts.

      • That's pretty lame. Seriously, is Giant going to have competitive prices on a case of Victory?
  • Beverage distributors that sell beer are closed on Sundays, as are state stores, so if you want a drink on Sunday you'll have to go to a restaurant.

    That's not true anymore. Starting a couple of years ago, some State Stores started being open on Sundays from noon to 5. My local store in Bryn Mawr was one of the first to open on Sundays. It also got one of those fancy temperature-controlled rooms for the expensive wines. (I'm sure it's purely a coincidence that the head of the PLCB at the time was a B

    • Thanks for the corrections. A few other people had pointed this out, too. I hadn't realized that things had relaxed. I'm going to need to see if any local beer places are open Sunday. The one I like, sadly, is not.