PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Market District store at Settlers Ridge in Robinson Township has become the first grocery store in Pennsylvania to sell wine since the long-ago era of Prohibition.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has given the green light to about 80 supermarkets, restaurants and hotels to eventually sell wine-to-go. And Giant Eagle launched its wine sales on Friday.

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“I bet I’m not the only one here who thought this day would never come,” said Giant Eagle CEO Laura Karet.

But after years of legislative wrangling it’s here, and it didn’t take any time at all before the first bottles were on their way.

“It’s very convenient and we’re happy about it,” says customer Nancy O’Neill, of Kennedy Township.

For the debut, Giant Eagle brought in the top sellers in the LCB stores.

“What you see in this store today is only about 15 percent of what our future distribution will be, so we plan to have more than 450 unique wines,” said Brian McDole, the beer, wine and liquor director.

The Settlers Ridge Market District store is just the first of 16 Giant Eagles in our area that will be selling wine.

The next round of stores will be selling wine probably by the end of October.

In an interview for this weekend’s edition of the “Sunday Business Page” on KDKA-TV, a Liquor Control Board member predicted the grocery store carryout wine experience will prove to be a boon for consumers.

The LCB’s Michael Negra said, “I think that consumers around the state will have more access, better convenience to our products. We’re no longer a monopoly in the wine business.”

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As for pricing, private wine retailers like Giant Eagle must buy its stock from the state.

“There is really no need for a government wholesale bureaucracy. It’s an additional layer and an additional cost to the consumer,” said Mike Turzai, the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House.

But it’s the law for now and it also includes pricing controls.

If the Liquor Control Board sells you a bottle of wine for $10, Giant Eagle buys it for 10 percent less – or $9 – and cannot sell it to you for less than that amount. There is no price ceiling.

KDKA checked Giant Eagle’s pricing on Friday and found bottle-for-bottle the same price at the Market District as the state store in Robinson Township.

Cathy Rosensteel, of Oakdale, was checking out wine prices Friday night.

She told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “It’s a good thing. It will save us a lot of running around, especially for the women, ‘cause we do all the shopping.”

Another customer, Kara Efimetz, of Oakdale, said, “I’m overjoyed. It’s the best; I don’t have to make three stops on the way home, just to get a drink.”

Everybody wants to know when the sales will begin in their store, and even the folks at Giant Eagle say they don’t know. But you can click here to find the list of stores that have been approved.

With the new changes in the Pennsylvania alcohol laws, Utah now is the last state in the U.S. where liquor and wine can only be sold in state stores.

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