KYW Regional Affairs Council

“State Store Standoff”


By Michelle Durham

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (CBS) — The concept of privatizing Pennsylvania state liquor stores has been a hotly contested topic for years, with some Pennsylvania politicians in favor of selling off state stores so they could be operated by private entities, and others adamantly opposed.

One South Jersey wine retailer is keeping a sharp eye on what is happening across the Delaware River.

Greg Moore, who spent twenty years as the sommelier and general manager of legendary Philadelphia restaurant Le Bec-Fin, is president of Moore Brothers Inc.  His company has stores in New York, Delaware, and New Jersey.

moore greg side durham Part 3:  A Wine Breakthrough?

(Greg Moore. Credit: Michelle Durham)

Moore (right) says the recent proposal made in a Pennsylvania state House committee to allow beer distributors to sell wine if they purchase an additional license is a huge breakthrough — and could open a door for him.

“(My) only worry is that beer distributorship licenses could be grabbed up by big gorcery store chains, leaving the possibility of small mom-and-pop shops like us out of the picture,” Moore told KYW Newsradio recently.  “But I think it’s all good.  I’m a Philadelphian.  I’d be happy to share my own (wine) finds and things with people in Pennsylvania.”

Under the current proposed Pennsylvania legislation, state stores would remain under Pennsylvania control while private entities could sell wine.

Moore says this is not an unusual arrangement, “and it is a system that has worked successfully in other states.  In Virginia, for example, you have state stores that sell liquor only, and you have gourmet shops that sell wine.  And it is something that can can coexist.  And I think it’s the first time it’s ever gotten this far (in Pennsylvania), and that’s why it’s interesting!”

Moore says he will be watching carefully as the bill is considered in Harrisburg.

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