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House approves bill for beer distributors to sell wine, liquor

| Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 2:30 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is one of the nation’s largest purchasers of wine and liquor.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is one of the nation’s largest purchasers of wine and liquor.

The state House on Tuesday sent the Senate another liquor proposal, continuing its push for further changes to the state's alcohol laws.

The bill would allow licensed beer distributors and importing distributors, known as wholesalers, to purchase a permit to sell unlimited quantities of wine and liquor. Beer distributor warehouses, which already sell beer in quantities ranging from single bottles to kegs, would essentially become one-stop shops for alcohol under the legislation.

The bill narrowly passed Tuesday. Its fate in the Senate is unclear.

A financial analysis of the bill says the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which operates roughly 600 retail outlets across the state, would see reduced revenue and would close some of its more than 600 state-run retail outlets as more privately-run stores begin selling wine and liquor.

Last month, the House approved a handful of competing proposals aimed at changing how consumers could purchase wine and liquor in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday's vote continues the House GOP's push to include some changes to state liquor laws as part of a budget package due at the end of June.

Kevin Zwick is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2856, kzwick@tribweb.com or on Twitter @kevinjzwick.

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