But It May Be A Year Before It Comes To Pittsburgh AreaBy Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On Tuesday, the Sheetz in Shippensburg, near Harrisburg, became the first convenience store in Pennsylvania to sell wine.

“For us to be able to offer for sale the first bottle of wine in the state in any convenience store is a tremendous thrill for us,” said Louie Sheetz, a board member of the company. “We’re very proud to be able to be here today to do that.”

The first purchaser of wine was Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai who worked with Gov. Tom Wolf to craft the consumer-friendly expansion of wine sales at gas stations that sell food.

“For us, it’s also going to expand our tax revenues. We’re going to bring in another $150 million, is projected for this budget year,” said Turzai.

Now, don’t look for every Sheetz in our area to start selling wine and beer.

Why not? Because it requires a restaurant liquor license.

Even though the state legislature does allow beer and wine to be sold at gas stations, they did not increase the number of liquor licenses available.

“The process is still a rather cumbersome one,” Sheetz told KDKA money editor Jon Delano. “There are existing licenses out there that must be acquired, and to acquire one, the existing operator of that restaurant license must give it up, and they do. It’s just that it doesn’t happen very often.”

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Sheetz says the company hopes to bring wine sales to the Pittsburgh region by next fall.

“Hopefully, you’ll see more than one in the Pittsburgh market by this time next year,” he said.

And if consumers want to speed the process along, just ask legislators to increase the number of restaurant licenses available to allow convenience stores to sell wine.

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