As a steady stream of customers passed through the Wine & Spirits Shop in the Westgate Mall early Tuesday evening, few seemed to have much of an idea about Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposal to close state stores in favor of issuing licenses to private retailers to sell liquor.
That said, most seemed to be in favor of the idea of privatizing wine and liquor sales in Pennsylvania for .
What do you think? Should Pennsylvania State Liquor Stores be closed and replaced with licenses for private retailers? Tell us in the comments.
One customer who did not want to give her name said she was shocked to find how inconvenient it was to assemble the ingredients for cocktails in Pennsylvania after she moved here from New Jersey.
“I was like, ‘where’s your tomato juice?’ and they were like, ‘We don’t sell that here,’” she said. “In New Jersey, you can walk in and get whatever you want – cocktail mixes.”
Similarly, Julie Zumas of Bethlehem finds the laws in Pennsylvania “a little strict” when compared to her native Virginia, where she could walk into a grocery store and buy a six-pack of beer. Corbett’s plan would greatly loosen the state’s grip on beer sales.
Zumas was at the state store to buy commemorative champagne bottles to give out as party favors at a bridal shower. She hoped to buy them directly from the manufacturer and have them shipped, but Pennsylvania’s existing liquor laws won’t allow that either.
Instead, she said, she was forced to go to the state store and pay a higher price.
“I don’t know why the government has to run these stores,” said Israel Vazquez of Allentown, after he walked out of the Westgate Mall store. “In any other state, it’s private.”
Not everyone agreed, however.
“I’m not a big proponent of privatization,” said Kyle Goodbred, a Moravian College student of legal drinking age. “When I come to the Wine & Spirits Shop, I know I am going to be able to get what I want.”
If the store doesn’t have what he wants, he said, there has never been a problem getting something shipped in from another store or a manufacturer. He said he was pleased with the service and the variety of products available.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with the way it is,” he said.
At the same time, Goodbred said the state’s laws on beer sales could use an overhaul to allow carry out sales past 10 p.m. and to make six packs more readily available to buy.