Changes to PA liquor, wine sales go into effect

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — State alcohol regulators on Monday began taking applications for permits under the expanded sales of booze approved by the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this summer.

The Liquor Control Board said about 11,000 businesses that currently have what are called restaurant or hotel licenses, allowing them sell beer to go, can apply for permission to also sell takeout wine.

Eating place licenses that sell beer to go, typically pizza shops or similar establishments, can apply to upgrade to a restaurant license in all parts of the state except the city of Philadelphia.

The bill allows casinos to apply to sell booze during overnight hours and for wineries in other states to ship directly to Pennsylvania customers.

The PLCB is getting greater flexibility to set hours and prices at its roughly 600 state-owned liquor stores.

Some sales under the expanded permits for wine could begin as early as this month.

It will cost $2,000 for a hotel or restaurant license to get the OK for wine sales. Renewing it will cost 2 percent of what they pay to buy wine for takeout from the PLCB.

The fee to convert eating place licenses to restaurant licenses will be $30,000.

Casinos must pay $1 million for an around-the-clock license, and some in the industry have predicted demand will be light.

Wineries can ship to Pennsylvania customers after paying a $250 application fee, allowing them to send up to 36 cases per resident per year to Pennsylvanians for personal use.