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Liquor is quicker and now more accessible

If I were in the market for a few cases of red wine but didn’t want to leave my house, where could I go to buy in bulk? Online, of course.

Under a new state liquor law, which took effect this month, Pennsylvania residents can now order up to 36 cases per year from every wine producer licensed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and have the wine shipped to their homes.

Good news for wine makers, but I might need a bigger house for this and all the Amazon Prime stuff I order.

Still, the bigger questions are: What wineries can I buy from now? And how do I choose? 

Fortunately for wine lovers, the state continues to update its list of licensed direct wine shippers. The list was approaching 50 licensees as of Monday afternoon (see map below).

Direct wine shippers so far


One for all

I’ve had wine from a few of the names on the list. So I could order from them.

Or I could get out of the house and head to a state liquor store to see what I can find from other wineries on the list, including the out-of-state brands.

Over time, I’m sure every winery that wants a direct wine shipper license in Pennsylvania will have one. It’s a big state, and we can’t all get out to Napa Valley. West Coast wineries are taking note if you look at the map.

Not every customer is going to order up to the limit, but the flexibility of the system should boost sales for the wineries — more than enough to justify the cost of the license — and grow the industry.

Do I think it’s more likely that out-of-state wineries will benefit more from this law? Yes, but less restrictions might entice more Pennsylvania residents to save some gas and order wine from in-state producers, including local favorites.

Of course, I could just run to the grocery store for a few bottles as takeout wine sales become more prevalent across the commonwealth, another perk of the new law.

That added convenience for me, and new revenue for licensed retailers, also should help the wineries. It certainly should increase activity at the PLCB distribution centers, who will be supplying the wine to stores like Giant.

Beer impact

On the flip side of that grocery store coin, some craft beer makers will probably lose some shelf space in stores to make room for wine.

Maybe brewers make up for that loss through beer sales at local wineries and distilleries, another element of the new liquor law.

Speaking of breweries, they keep popping up in Central Pennsylvania. The Millworks restaurant in Midtown Harrisburg has opened an in-house brewery to add new draft beers to its bar, which already features several Pennsylvania-produced beers and ciders.

Your takeaway

It’s getting easier to buy alcohol in volume and the list of places to buy from is expanding almost every day.

If you have the financial resources, buy up commercial real estate in up-and-coming neighborhoods.

You never know when someone is going to come looking to lease space for a new brewery or distillery, maybe additional storage to help a growing alcohol-related business. 

It also pays to be in the shipping business.

Plus I can think of a few marketing and branding firms that could probably pick up some business in the coming years as some of these small alcohol-related businesses get bigger and look to refresh their logos and message to stand out in the crowd.

Cheers.

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