Walmart sells beer, wine in state for 1st time; Westmoreland sales coming | TribLIVE.com
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Natasha Lindstrom

Walmart is now selling beer and wine in Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, the retail giant celebrated the grand opening of a former McDonald’s-turned-beer and wine cafe inside the Walmart Supercenter in Uniontown, the first of several planned statewide.

Officials announced at the event that Walmart recently purchased five more restaurant liquor licenses — one each in Westmoreland, Beaver, Blair, Clearfield and Erie counties. They did not yet specify which stores within those counties will be the next ones to sell beer and wine.

State Rep. Matt Dowling, R-Uniontown, bought the first two bottles of wine sold by Walmart in the state.

Both were products from Fayette County’s Christian W. Klay Winery.

“I have long been an advocate for Pennsylvania to update its archaic liquor laws, providing more convenience to consumers across the commonwealth,” Downling said. He was joined at the ribbon-cutting event by South Union Township officials and Doug Hitz, director of wholesale operations for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Sharon Klay, owner of the first commercial winery in Fayette County, said she was excited see their labels on Walmart’s shelves.

“We appreciate Walmart’s support of a local business growing grapes and producing wines that represent this region,” Klay said in a statement.

Karen Kallam, Walmart’s Southwest Pennsylvania market manager, called the addition “a win for our customers” craving the convenience of picking up wine and beer while they shop for other household goods.

The big-box behemoth is joining a growing group of retailers expanding into beer and wine sales statewide.

Giant Eagle holds restaurant liquor licenses for more than 60 of its stores in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Sheetz sells beer at more than 100 locations in Pennsylvania and five other states.

Earlier this year, convenience store chain Wawa bid close to $350,000 for two licenses in Philadelphia and Middletown Township, Delaware County.

State law still prohibits any retailer outside the state’s wine and spirits stores from selling hard liquor.

To meet requirements of a restaurant license, an applicant must set aside at least 400 square feet with seating where food can be served to at least 30 people.

Sales must happen at a separate cash register and there are limits on how much customers can buy in a single transaction. Malt beverages are limited to 192 ounces and wine is limited to three liters per customer. Wine can only be sold until 11 p.m. while beer can be sold until 1:30 a.m.

Licenses approved through the auction may be transferred between municipalities in the same county, if certain requirements are met and local municipalities approve it.

The Uniontown Walmart Supercenter’s beer and wine cafe will be open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Sundays.

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