News Release: House Passes Significant Liquor Reform Bills

Yesterday, the House passed significant liquor reforms designed to end state government’s senseless stranglehold on the wine and liquor industry.

Sponsored by House Speaker Mike Turzai, HB 975 builds on last year’s wine expansion and HB 1075 would remove state government completely from the wholesale wine and liquor business. Meanwhile, HB 991, sponsored by Rep. Adam Harris, creates a license to enable private retailers to sell wine and spirits. And HB 438, sponsored by Rep. Mike Reese, creates Spirit Expanded Permits, similar to the Wine Expanded Permits, allowing restaurants to sell spirits to go.

“Our state’s archaic and, frankly, absurd wine and liquor laws continue to frustrate residents and baffle much of the rest of the country,” commented Nathan Benefield, vice president and COO for the Commonwealth Foundation. “When it comes down to it, Pennsylvanians want better selection, lower prices, and more convenience—exactly what the state-run system does not provide. Living under Prohibition-era laws isn’t a mark of pride. It’s time for Pennsylvania to catch up to this century and get government out of the booze business.”


The majority of Pennsylvanians across the state and across the political spectrum want government out of the liquor and wine business.

Nathan Benefield

Under current law, any retail stores selling wine must still purchase all wine from the government-run Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which limits selections and controls pricing. Meanwhile, only state-owned and operated stores can sell spirits in the commonwealth. Today’s legislation would nearly bring Pennsylvania into the modern era, ending government’s wine and liquor wholesale monopoly that stifles competition and limits choice and convenience for consumers.

“The majority of Pennsylvanians across the state and across the political spectrum want government out of the liquor and wine business,” Benefield continued. “There are numerous compelling reasons to end the state’s monopoly and not one good reason to keep it. It’s time to put liquor and wine sales back into the hands of the private sector, once and for all.”

Nathan Benefield and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.

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The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.