STRIP DISTRICT (KDKA) — A licensed spirits store, the first of its kind, Pennsylvania Libations has opened in the Strip on Penn Avenue, selling only Pennsylvania-made spirits.
“It’s great. I’m a yinzer, okay, so I like local. and I think it’s a great idea,” says Bill Rorison of Gibsonia.
The idea for a craft spirits boutique came from 35-year old Christian Simmons.
“We only work with crafts spirits made in Pennsylvania,” Simmons told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday. “They have to be made on site at the manufacturing facility.”
Since PA liquor-makers are allowed to sell their own alcoholic products, Simmons is an agent on consignment, selling at prices at least equal to the state stores.
With Liquor Control Board approval, Simmons soon hopes to offer spirits from 20 manufacturers..
“I’m so proud Pittsburgh has the first location like this in the entire state where we can purchase liquor without going into a state liquor store,” noted Sue Caldwell of Plum.
Customers love the concept, and the free samples that George Santel hands out with an explanation.
“This is 64 percent corn, 35 percent wheat, and 1 percent rye. Comes at 106 proof. It’s going to have a nice bite to it,” Santel tells two customers from Illinois.
“It’s fun because you can try before you buy, so that’s also a new thing,” says Danielle Bonacuro of Pennsylvania Libations.
“You can’t do that at your state stores.”
That’s for sure.
“Given the price of most alcohol, it’s pretty good that you get to try it first,” says Vincent Salvino of the Northside.
They’ve only been open a few days, but it turns out the number one seller, so far at least, has been this Talleyrand cream bourbon, a bit like Bailey’s Irish cream.
Simmons wanted to sell Pennsylvania wine, too, but the LCB requires separate rooms, entrances, and cash registers to sell both wine and spirits.
So, for now, he’ll stick to spirits.