Pennsylvania Court Dismisses Challenge to C-store Beer Sales

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit brought forth by distributors seeking to overturn a license for carryout beer sales. With this ruling, convenience stores and gas stations in the state no longer have to worry about any legislation preventing them from selling beer where gas stations selling liquid fuels are present.

Distributors had unsuccessfully argued the state's liquor laws prevent beer from being sold at locations that also sell gasoline or other liquid fuels.

As CSNews Online reported last month, Pennsylvania politicians supported the ability for retailers such as Sheetz Inc. to sell beer at c-store/gas station locations. Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law legislation that expands retailers' ability to sell beer and wine within the state. The bill makes permanent gas stations' ability to sell six-packs of beer, allows grocery stores that currently sell beer to sell up to four bottles of wine and removes Sunday restrictions and state-mandated holidays.

Pennsylvania-based c-store retailer Sheetz has led the charge to allow beer sales at c-stores and grocery stores where gas stations are present. This effort dates back all the way to 2010, when the retailer introduced the “Free My Beer” campaign in an effort to get the Keystone State to change its laws.

“It's kind of nice, personally, because we've known from the beginning ... that what they wanted to do could be done properly in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Mark Flaherty, an attorney who represented Sheetz in this case and similar challenges, told Trib Live. “It makes me happy because I see friends of mine who say, ‘Isn't it wonderful [that] we can buy a six-pack in the grocery store like every other state.' The commonwealth deserves that.”

Altoona-based Sheetz Inc. operates more than 500 c-store locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina.


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