Attorneys for beverage distribution companies are urging Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court to bar takeout sales of six-packs unless a retailer allows the beer to be consumed on the premises, The Associated Press, reported.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recently granted a license allowing beer sales at Sheetz in Altoona, Pa., a decision that has triggered much debate on how beer should be sold in that state, the news service reported.
The Pennsylvania Malt Beverage Distributors Association won a round against Sheetz in Commonwealth Court earlier this year, and it is also separately challenging the PLCB’s approval of licenses that would allow Wegmans’ supermarket chain to sell beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks at cafes in six Pennsylvania stores.
“The (liquor board) authorized venues to sell beer that the Legislature never intended,” Robert Hoffman, the attorney for the distributors’ group, argued at a hearing Wednesday on the Sheetz case.
About 500 delicatessens and similar establishments hold beer-only licenses like the one recently granted to Sheetz, which allows them to sell six-packs and serve beer on premises. Takeout customers can buy the equivalent of two six-packs of 16-ounce cans at the businesses.
Beer-buyers wanting cases or kegs must turn to one of the state’s 1,300 beer distributors, where they also usually get better prices. Sheetz’s Altoona store was based on a “new concept” that emphasizes food sales, Stanley Wolowski, a lawyer for Sheetz subsidiary Ohio Springs Inc., told the AP.
Connected to the convenience store, Sheetz’s eating area has seating for 62 patrons and 4,000 square feet of floor space. Sheetz currently sells only takeout beer in Altoona.
The distributors’ association contends the store should also have to serve beer to restaurant patrons for consumption on the premises.