getting wasted in pennsylvania

No, I’m not getting wasted. That’s not my bag.

I have often found myself explaining the fairly weird way that buying alcohol works in Pennsylvania. I thought I’d share the madness.

The state of Pennsylvania has a monopoly on the sale of wine and spirits. If you want to buy a bottle of whisky, you have to go to one of the “Wine and Spirits” stores run by the Liquor Control Board. We Pennsylvanias call them “state stores.” At the state store, you can buy wine and hard liquor, but not beer or, well, anything else. If you want to make lousy bourbon sours, you’ll need to get bourbon from the state store and sour mix from the grocery.

Does anyone else think it’s funny that the welcome message on the LCB website is blurry?

Vinyards can sell their own wine, either at the vinyard or at a dedicated store.

If you want beer, you have a few choices. You can go to a place that serves beer with food. The common cases are delis and pizzerias. If you can buy a sandwich and a beer, then it’s legal to buy a bottle or a six pack to go. Actually, you can buy two six packs, but not more. In practice, you can buy as much as you want by making several trips, but you won’t want to, because it’s expensive. You can pay as much as $10 for a six pack of decent beer.

If you want to buy beer in quantity, you need to go to a beverage distributor. These are usually like warehouses, with lots of beer and soda. Potato chips and beef jerky and sometimes cigars are often on hand. A case of decent beer will run you between $25 and $35. I saw a case of Delirium Tremens on the shelf last night for $83.

Beverage distributors that sell beer are closed on Sundays, as are state stores, so if you want a drink on Sunday you’ll have to go to a restaurant.

Written on August 30, 2007
🏷 beer
🏷 booze
🏷 pennsylvania