House leadership calls out Liquor Control Board on when wine sales will start

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HARRISBURG - Leadership in the House is calling out the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board after lawmakers claimed that wine sales in grocery stores would probably not begin until Thanksgiving at the earliest.

A month after the bill to allow the sale of wine in supermarkets and other stores was signed into law, the application process for a license to sell wine has not been opened yet, frustrating members of the House Republican caucus.

"They need to get off their rear ends, they need to get off their hands, they need to get wine into the supermarkets for our consumers," Stephen Miskin, the press secretary for the caucus, said.

But PLCB chairman Tim Holden said Monday his staff has been working night and day to have the license application process ready for the day the law, known as Act 39, takes effect.

"[It's] to make sure that we hit the ground running on August the 8th," he said. "I'm not going to give you a date, exactly when the wine's going to be in or licenses, but we are fully prepared to implement it as quickly as possible, but we want to do it right, and want to make sure it's efficient."

The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, which represents thousands of grocery and convenience stores across the Commonwealth, says it is hoping to see movement soon, but recognizes there is a process that needs to play out.

"It's going to take a lot of people to get around that table and find the most efficient and effective timely way to develop a system that is really kind of a new economic development initiative in the state of Pennsylvania," David McCorkle, the group's president, said.