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July 20, 2015

DelCo Wawa could soon sell six-packs of beer

Vote held Tuesday will determine if Concord store can sell booze

Wawa Beer

Bubba, 2, leans out of his owner's pickup truck parked in front of the first Wawa convenience store, opened in April 1964, in Folsom, Pa., Thursday April 22, 2004.

The Concord Township Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on what will no doubt go down as the most monumental issue of their political careers. Can Wawa sell beer?

The Delaware County's town board will vote on one local Wawa’s application to sell 12-packs, reports.

The decision still has to be approved by the state even if the board votes yes and would only apply to that one store. However, once one Wawa in Pennsylvania is allowed to sell alcohol, more could follow.

“For now, we view this as a single-store product expansion,” company spokeswoman Lori Bruce told the Delaware County Daily Times. “We may look to expand the offering depending on our experience at this store and the licensing requirements in the communities and states we serve."

Wawa, which has over 600 locations throughout the East Coast, only sells alcohol in its Virginia and Florida stores. It hasn’t sold alcohol in Pennsylvania since 2003 when its store near the University of Pennsylvania campus was denied a liquor license for selling alcohol to minors.

In order to sell beer, the Wawa has to build a separate restaurant area in its store with room to seat at least 30 people. Customers could buy a maximum of 12 beers.

Other major grocery and convenience store chains like Wegmans, Acme, Whole Foods and Sheetz have used the restaurant loophole in the state’s liquor laws to sell six-packs. Midway through the year, the state has given 32 delis and supermarkets permission to sell booze.

This trend worries people like Brian Mutschler, owners of Brewers Outlet in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. As a beer distributor, he’s only allowed to have one store location, and it was only in March that distributors even got the right to sell 12-packs as opposed to cases and kegs.

"We're on mom-and-pop store. And the competition -- not just from Wawa -- from Whole Foods, Acme, it hurts," he said.