Turzai Celebrates Wine Sales at Weis Markets’ Enola Store
HARRISBURG – House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) today celebrated the two-year anniversary of Act 39 of 2016, which opened the sale of wine in select grocery and convenience stores, and called on Gov. Tom Wolf to continue to support legislation to expand wine sales statewide.

Turzai is sponsoring House Bill 975, also known as the “Free the Wine” bill, which would allow any grocery store in Pennsylvania the option of selling wine. The bill is in the Senate at this time.

“Two years ago this week, Republicans convinced Gov. Wolf to sign Act 39, which allowed the sale of wine in private sector stores, mainly grocery stores like this one,” Turzai said. “Currently, 691 liquor license holders have obtained the additional license to sell wine to-go. Of those, 420 are grocery and convenience stores. It is clear these stores want the ability to provide this convenience to their customers. And we believe more would with needed reforms.”

Turzai touted the fact that while wine sales in the Commonwealth have grown by nearly 2 percent, wine sales in state stores have fallen. The growth has been driven by sales by private sector businesses which account for almost 11 percent of the wine sold in Pennsylvania.

The speaker pointed out that expanded availability of wine has not led to an increase in alcohol-related vehicle crashes or driving while under the influence charges. In 2017, Pennsylvania State Police reported a decrease of 2,500 DUI charges from 2016, the first decrease in that number since at least a decade.

As Pennsylvanians have made clear their desire to buy wine from private sector businesses, Turzai called on the governor to join the rest of Pennsylvania’s call to free the wine.

“We think the time is right to get House Bill 975 on the governor’s desk by the end of the legislative session in November,” Turzai added. “The bill would allow all 6,103 grocery stores in the state to sell wine and remove price floor requirements to decrease costs and increase competition.

“The House has passed complete privatization four times, and Gov. Wolf vetoed the one time it was on his desk,” Turzai continued. “Please, governor, at least agree with the people that all wine should be sold in private sector stores.”

As noted, between 2013 and 2015 House Republicans voted to privatize the sale of wine and spirits four separate times. House Bill 790 was passed on March 21, 2013; House Bill 466 was passed on Feb. 26, 2015; House Bill 466 was passed on concurrence on June 30, 2015, and put on the governor’s desk, which he promptly vetoed; lastly, House Bill 1690 was passed on Nov. 19, 2015, and sent to the Senate before it became the legislative vehicle for a compromise.

Turzai was joined today by Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland), who added his voice to the push to “free the wine.”

“Last April we passed House Bill 975, which would completely divest Pennsylvania from the wholesale of wine, and allow private wholesalers to sell wine directly to stores, ending the monopoly by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB),” Rothman said. “Since Act 39 became law, we have seen more people choose to buy their wine from private stores rather than the state stores; they are voting with their dollars, and we need to listen and pass House Bill 975 into law.”

House Bill 975 would give all 6,103 grocery stores — not just those with restaurant seating capacity — the opportunity to obtain a permit to sell wine; allow retailers to buy wine from private sector wholesalers, brokers and makers of wine, not from the LCB; and eliminate all price floor requirements — either from the wholesaler to the retailer or the retailer to the consumer — that artificially inflate the cost and dampen competition.

Editors Note: Attached is a spreadsheet showing the growth of wine sales by private sector businesses in Pennsylvania. Click the link above to view the attachment.

Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Neal Lesher
717.260.6495 (office) 717.507.9240 (cell)
RepTurzai.com / Facebook.com/RepTurzai / Twitter.com/RepTurzai

Share |