Sen. Argall: Make it Easier for mid-sized grocers to sell beer

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(Credit to Andrew Staub/


A new proposal would give mid-sized grocery stores an easier path to selling beer in Pennsylvania, but the ripple effect it would have on other purveyors of malt beverages could generate enough opposition to skunk it.


The plan is simple enough: State Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, wants to lift the requirement that grocery stores with a footprint of 8,000 to 55,000 square feet must set up a restaurant within their walls to sell beer.


“They just don’t have that kind of extra space,” Argall said, explaining he wants to level the playing field for smaller outlets that compete against larger superstores.


Grocery stores don’t have a specific liquor license tailored to their business model. Instead, they must obtain restaurant liquor licenses — or “R” licenses — to sell beer.


To comply with current state law, supermarkets must cordon off at least 400 square feet for a restaurant that seats at least 30 people. Beer transactions must occur at a separate cash register in that area, commonly called beer cafés.


That might not be difficult for a chain such as Wegmans, which has long placed restaurants in stores that can exceed 100,000 square feet. But for Redner’s Warehouse Markets, a smaller employee-owned grocery chain based in Reading, plopping a beer café into its typical 50,000-square-foot space might not be as feasible.


To read the rest of the article from Mr. Staub click here.