Coalition formed to change state liquor laws

Cris Collingwood//May 10, 2023

Sign which is cut out to say liquors above a generic desaturated building.

Coalition formed to change state liquor laws

Cris Collingwood//May 10, 2023

Armed with research that Pennsylvanians want more access to alcoholic products, a new alliance will advocate for statewide changes. 

 The Coalition for Convenient Sales, an alliance of trade associations, retailers, business owners and customers, is advocating to expand access to spirits-based ready-to-drink products. 

 Coalition members include Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Distilled Spirits Council, and National Federation of Independent Business. 

 “We are pleased to announce the formation of the Coalition for Convenient Sales,” said Alex Baloga, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association. “It’s long past time to change the liquor laws and give Pennsylvanians the convenience they want and deserve, and we will all be pulling together to get this done.” 

 A new study by Public Opinion Strategies and David Binder Research found 81% of Pennsylvanians support proposed legislation, Sen. Bill 688. that would allow licensed establishments to offer ready-to-drink cocktails with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 12.5% or less to be sold in the same places as beer, wine, and hard seltzers. 

 The poll shows that support for this proposal is statewide and cuts across demographics and party lines. 

 “This research finds that Pennsylvanians are ready to move past an antiquated liquor sales system that was developed nearly 100 years ago,” said Micah Roberts of Public Opinion Strategies, one of the principal researchers on the project. “The public very clearly wants a modernized, convenient system that keeps alcohol sales safe while making it more convenient for consumers.” 

 Will Gudelunas of David Binder Research said one thing that stood out in the research was that Pennsylvanians find the state’s liquor sales system inconvenient. 

 “People want to purchase similar products at the same location without having to make an extra trip,” Gudelunas said. 

 “We expected positive results from this survey, but we are encouraged at just how overwhelmingly popular this concept is,” said Baloga. “Our current laws were drafted at the end of Prohibition and no longer make sense in a modern world where you can go to a grocery store to buy beer and wine with similar alcoholic content. We believe this is the year we will get this done.”