Pennsylvania: encouraging binge drinking
The last part of our RV journey across America included passing through the state of Pennsylvania towards New York. We stayed a few nights in some RV parks and didn’t really experience anything too exciting in Penn State. It seemed very similar to Ohio and a lot of other states around that area of the US actually… But there was one pretty big difference we noticed from other US states we’d visited: the laws of distributing take-away alcohol.
In Pennsylvania you can’t sell beer in convenience stores or even in wine & liquor stores like in other states. There are only two ways to buy take-away beer:
- You go to a beer case distributor. This is a big stand-alone shop whose license only allows them to sell by the case, so you have to buy 24 x 12oz beers/cider - or nothing.
- You go to a “six pack distributor”, which are pretty hard to find. These are usually pizza or chicken or some other takeaway food shops, as selling food is a requirement to be able to sell small quantities of booze. But from what I could see from the one we went into, the food is a front to comply with distribution laws and everyone pretty much just comes in and buys their alcohol there.
I seriously don’t understand how this is a positive law. One night we were in Penn all I wanted to do was buy a six pack so I could have a couple of beers with dinner… instead I had to buy a case, cos the only place to buy beer was a case distributor. We actually tried to buy 12 and the guy wouldn’t let us, we had to take 24. WTF? Where is the logic in forcing someone to buy more beers?
I think the government needs to seriously look at these laws… In the meantime, if you’re in Penn and want a couple of drinks, be prepared to buy a case or hunt down your closest pizza shop.
FYI: according to the definitive source wikipedia: ”Wine and spirits are to be sold only in the state owned Wine And Spirits shops, where all prices must remain the same throughout the state”, but while we were there we saw none of these…