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Wines & Spirits

PA alcohol laws suck

One of the reasons this is so, is because of our “Wines & Spirits” stores. In PA, as well as a few other states, you cannot buy alcohol except in specific highly regulated locations. All wine or liquor sales have to go through our state owned Wines & Spirits stores. Beer has to be purchased from either a bar or restaurant that is licensed to serve alcoholic beverages, or a distributor. It’s a huge hassle and makes just getting a six pack or fifth of something when you have a few friends coming over on short notice a huge hassle.

Some of the restrictions have loosened up a little. We now have some of our Wines and Spirits stores open on Sundays. Likewise, in Giant Eagle, a Pittsburgh based grocery chain, they have started opening up beer sales in their cafe, however, you must pay for all beer in the cafe, and you cannot check out any other groceries at that same register. This means if you buy a gallon of milk, and a six pack, you have to wait through two lines. They also had wine vending machines for a short time, though a dispute between the Liquor board and the company that was contracted to run them shut them down.

Our current issue here, is privatization of our liquor sales. Our governor is looking to sell off the state owned stores and allow private companies to sell alcohol. The union for the employees of the Wines & Spirits stores put out this commercial:

It’s the same claim that they made when we wanted them to be open on Sundays, “If we do this, people will DIE!!!” It was a ridiculous claim then, and it’s a ridiculous claim now. How many people go to a liquor store to get drunk, and then drive away? Shouldn’t they be more worried about bars? You know, the places where people drive to for the specific purpose of consuming alcoholic beverages? How does refusing to sell alcohol to someone who is already drunk stop drunk driving? They already drove drunk to your store, and they are going to walk out, and drive drunk home. You just stopped them from driving a little drunker.

I can walk into a Wines & Spirits store, and buy as much alcohol as I want, and they will sell it to me. They have shopping carts there for the specific purpose of helping people move around large quantities of alcohol, that they wish to take home and drink. I have seen people purchase large boxes of various alcoholic beverages. Beverages that they will then have no control over how they are consumed, or what happens before, during, or after consumption, and yet they believe that if private companies take over their job, there will be blood all over the streets?

And why wouldn’t a private store ask for ID or not sell to drunk people? Again, this is what they already do in privately owned bars and clubs, why wouldn’t Wal-Mart do the same? They’ll card me when I try to buy a video game or a movie, something that is a lot less dangerous than alcohol can be. Hell, I’ve purchased ammo at Wal-Mart. We can trust this store with violent video games and ammunition, but we cannot trust them to sell alcohol? Are they serious?