Benninghoff Backs Liquor Privatization Bill Advanced by House

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) today voted for a bill approved by the House that would bring competition to Pennsylvania’s liquor sales market and empower grocery stores and restaurants to provide wider product selections for consumers.

“The current liquor control system is a Prohibition-era relic that is outdated and inefficient,” Benninghoff said.  “Since this system was implemented, man walked on the moon, the Berlin Wall came down and the Internet was born.  Pennsylvania’s alcohol sales system has simply failed to keep up with the times.”

House Bill 790 would begin a process of first allowing private-sector sales of liquor and then, later, the possibility of shutting down the state-owned liquor store system.

Beer distributors would have the first opportunity to sell wine and liquor under the proposal.  For one year, they would be the only establishments eligible to apply for a new retail license to sell liquor.  They also could apply for a license to sell wine.

“For the first time, Pennsylvania customers would be able to purchase their wine, liquor and beer for a wedding or New Year’s party under the same roof,” Benninghoff said.

After one year, other retail establishments would be eligible to apply for licenses to sell wine, liquor or both.

The bill includes provisions to help state liquor store employees who are dislocated to find new work within state government or with private-sector employers.

Another change in the bill would allow restaurants and grocery stores to sell wine for customers to enjoy at home.  These establishments also would need to apply for, obtain and pay for a license.

“These changes would be a vast improvement compared to the current system,” Benninghoff said.  “This would be beneficial for customers and taxpayers while getting the Commonwealth out of liquor sales, which is not a core function of the government.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Dan Massing
717.772.9845 /
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