HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A bill to allow the sale of wine at grocery stores and at other retail outlets is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk. In a surprise move, the House Rules Committee voted in favor of HB1690, and it passed in the House by a vote of 157-31 this afternoon.
"It's the most significant first step in 80 years of our liquor system," House Majority Leader Dave Reed, (R) - Indiana County, said. "By the Fourth of July next year, consumers are going to have the convenience they've been looking for. They're going to be able to go to convenience stores to get a six-pack. They're going to be able to go to grocery stores and get wine."
Governor Wolf issued the following statement:
“Today the House concurred with the Senate on historic liquor modernization legislation that provides greater customer convenience to the people of Pennsylvania. As I have always said, my goal is to modernize the sale of liquor and beer in Pennsylvania to ensure convenience and satisfaction for customers. Once the bill reaches my desk, I will conduct a final review of the legislation to ensure it meets my goals of enhancing the customer experience, increasing much-needed revenue to help balance our budget, and bringing our wine and spirits system into the 21st century.”
Customers could buy up to four bottles of wine from licensed grocery stores, restaurants and hotels for take-out. The bill has been projected to bring in as much as $150 million in added revenue.
"By providing private sales of wine, the consumers are going to increase demand for more convenience as we move forward," House Speaker Mike Turzai, (R) - Allegheny County, said.
It wouldn't affect sales of hard liquor or result in closure of Pennsylvania's roughly 600 state-owned stores and there would be flexible pricing to allow state stores to offer special discounts and sales.