PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – While talks continue over whether to privatize the state’s liquor system, the liquor control board is focusing on re-branding.

And now it’s official: the first fine wine and good spirits premium collection store in the Pittsburgh area is open for business. It’s located at the Village at Pine in Wexford.

It’s 10,000 square feet and it’s a new approach to shopping for wine and spirits in the area.

“This is our new model, a new branded store for us,” said Robert Marcus with the state Liquor Control Board.

And it’s anything but your grandfather’s old state store.

It’s bright, with bright colors, spacious and there’s wine tasting. It also has a party planning center counter to gather and get information, and it looks like, well, a privatized store.

“The privatization is something that comes up every couple of years,” Marcus said. “But all we can do is keep our nose to the grindstone, keep growing, keep maturing.”

The store has wider aisles, a bigger selection and staff available to answer your questions, but is it all enough to save a system many believe has become outdated?

“I liked the privatized stores, but when I think of people losing their jobs, I would like to see the state stores stay,” Judy Scott of Ingomar said.

“I love the selection and I think the state does a great job in providing select wines which you might not be able to get if you go to privatization,” Jill Hannon of Ross Township said.

The store in Wexford is a first. A similar one will open in Monroeville in April, with the hope of more to follow.

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland