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Liquor Expansions Make Strides, With Store Hours Lengthening

Katie Meyer

The commonwealth's newly-expanded liquor law is ramping up.

The law went into effect Monday, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is already ushering in a few of the first concrete changes.

At the grand opening of a new Fine Wine and Good Spirits store in York County, the PLCB announced lottery tickets will now be sold at 300 state stores.

Additionally, many of the stores are lengthening their hours. Starting this weekend, 94 more stores will be open on Sundays, in addition to the 188 that already are.

Sunday hours will also be stretched from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to now 12 to 7 p.m.

Not all the law changes are so simple to enact, though.

PLCB member Michael Negra said it hasn't always been easy juggling the new rules with the day-to-day operation of the state's liquor industry.

"One of the challenges that we've had is that we've had Act 39 thrust upon us, and Act 85, and so all of this effort has been put forth into trying to work around the guidelines of the new law," he said. "At the same time, we're running a $2.2 billion business."

Negra said specific obstacles involve giving wine permits to privately-owned stores-particularly larger chains. He said that will delay wine sales for a few months.

"We're ready in the sense of they can apply for their permit," Negra said. "[But] there's logistical issues on their end and on our end. And so we're working together, we're having meetings with them, and so we're guessing that depending on what their product mix is, sometime in the fall."

Those issues include figuring out shipping and wholesaling logistics.

Negra said the PLCB received more than 100 applications for the permits in the first two days they were available.