GetGo to open contested beer cave in Elizabeth
Giant Eagle Inc. says it will open on Monday its first GetGo convenience store in Pennsylvania to offer beer, a move distributors say is illegal under state law and could be challenged in court.
The store, at 1000 Hayden Boulevard in Elizabeth, Forward Township, will offer more than 100 domestic, craft and imported beers in a walk-in beer cave that will be open seven days a week.
While the store is a first for Giant Eagle, the Sheetz convenience chain sells beer at one store in Altoona, and there may be independent gas stations licensed to sell beer in what may be considered convenience stores.
Traditional beer distributors are threatened by such moves from Sheetz, GetGo and others, and Mark Tanczos, president of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association, said his trade group could challenge Giant Eagle's action. He said the association has a case pending in the state Supreme Court to block plans by Altoona-based Sheetz from selling beer at a second location — in Shippensburg. A Sheetz spokesman could not be reached.
“We've contested that on the basis that someone selling liquid fuel is prohibited under state law from selling beer from the same location,” Tanczos said. “Somebody like Sheetz or GetGo would have to return their license.”
Charles Caputo, an attorney for the association who is handling that case, could not be reached.
Giant Eagle said 38 of its supermarkets in Pennsylvania are licensed to sell beer. Those stores have restaurant areas required by law where customers can purchase and take home up to two six packs of beer, or enjoy two beers with an in-store meal.
O'Hara-based Giant Eagle, the 33rd largest privately held company nationwide with $9.9 billion in sales, operates 227 supermarkets and 190 GetGo gas stations and convenience stores in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.
“Customers in other areas where we have GetGo stores have long appreciated the additional convenience of being able to purchase beer,” said Giant Eagle spokesman Daniel Donovan. “While we have an interest in introducing beer at future Pennsylvania GetGo locations, there are currently no confirmed plans to do so.” It has 91 GetGos in the state.
The state has issued about 200 licenses that allow grocery stores, mini marts or gas stations to sell beer, said Stacy Kriedeman, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. How many are convenience stores connected to gas stations wasn't available.
Sheetz won the right to sell beer in Altoona after overcoming legal hurdles over five years. That location was built to comply with state law, which requires the beer to be sold in an area that is separated from the rest of the store.
“I would love to put beer in every store,” Chairman Stan Sheetz has said. The company operates 460 stores in six states.
The new GetGo will offer meal options at a 36-seat indoor cafe and a 15-seat outdoor cafe. The GetGo was built on a Forward Township site where Payday's Super Market and a Giant Eagle supermarket once operated. Hayden Boulevard is also known as Route 51.
Gas stations would gain the ability to sell beer under a liquor privatization bill approved by the state House last year.
In January 2013, Gov. Tom Corbett introduced a plan to privatize wine and liquor sales and expand where customers can buy beer. It would allow distributors to sell beer in packages smaller than a case and would offer them the chance to sell wine and liquor. Grocery stores could sell six bottles of wine and up to a 12-pack of beer. Convenience stores could sell one six-pack.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs
- Electric versions of Asian rickshaw make their way into U.S. market
- Shareholder vote causes ATI to review executive pay packages
- Cheap oil can hurt economy
- Pa. sees widespread job gains; jobless rate holds at 5.3%
- Look for 1st rate hike this year, Yellen says
- Developer hopes to make Allegheny Center a tech hub
- Wal-Mart presses meat, egg suppliers on antibiotics, animal treatment
- 5 battles the ’16 Camaro needs to win
- Truck ducts keep blowing out hot air
- Low price sparks sales run