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Liquor Store Privatization Plan Lets Beer Distributors Compete To Sell Wine And Spirits

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(Credit: CBS 3)

(Credit: CBS 3)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Beer distributors would be able to compete for the right to sell wine and liquor under the privatization plan unveiled last week by the state House majority leader.

Allegheny County Republican Mike Turzai, the House majority leader, says his proposal wants to encourage the same kind of shopping options that consumers have in other states, “There are specialty shops with respect to wine or specialty shops with respect to spirits. We wanted to make sure that that flourished in the sense that there was opportunity for consumers to find a number of places to go.”

One other option under Turzai’s proposal would allow is one-stop shopping for beer and wine and spirits. Beer distributors would be allowed to compete for the more than 1,200 retail liquor licenses that would be auctioned off under Turzai’s plan. While they could sell liquor along with beer, they would still have to sell beer by the case as they do now.

Mark Tanczos of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania, which represents beer distributors, is cautiously optimistic about the proposal, “There’s an open door, there’s some possibilities here. At least we’re included at this point. Now, we’ll have to go from there and see what the bill actually says and see how it would affect our members.”

And the bill may look different in its final form. While Governor Corbett supports privatization, his spokesman stops short of endorsing the proposal, saying the governor looks forward to working with lawmakers in the fall.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo

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