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April 16, 2020

Pennsylvania to expand online liquor sales by using Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores

E-commerce sales rose by 850% in first half of April

Business Alcohol
Pennsylvania Liquor Online @PAWINESPIRITS/FACEBOOK

Some Fine Wine & Good Spirits locations will be used to expand fulfillment operations and capacity for the state's online store during the coronavirus pandemic. All physical locations have been closed since March 17.

As Pennsylvania residents struggle through tight commercial restrictions on liquor and wine, the state will move to use 106 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores to enhance fulfillment through its online store.  

For most of the last month, Pennsylvania residents seeking liquor and wine products have been severely limited by Gov. Tom Wolf's decision to close all physical locations of Fine Wine & Good Spirits. Those who have sought remedies in Ohio, Delaware and New Jersey have not been warmly welcomed. 

At the beginning of April, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board reopened the online store for Fine Wine & Good Spirits on a limited basis. Demand for online shopping has been so steep that the PLCB tightly controls the number of visitors who can access the site and place orders each day. 

On Thursday, the Wolf Administration revealed plans to ramp up online fulfillment in order to accept more e-commerce orders. 

Fine Wine & Good Spirits will be permitted to reopen 106 stores statewide to a limited number of employees so that they can help meet the online demand, according to the Associated Press. The state expects to have 121 fulfillment facilities operational by the end of the weekend. 

With enhanced sanitation and strict social distancing guidelines for staff at these locations, the state hopes to address widespread complaints about how it has handled alcohol sales amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Through the first 15 days of April, Fine Wine & Good Spirits' online store handled 23,038 orders worth $2,187,580, according to data provided by the state. 

The online store previously represented a small portion of the state's total liquor and wine sales, but figured to become a major factor through the remainder of the pandemic. There has been an 850% increase in e-commerce since the online store reopened. 

During the first half of April, the highest number of orders taken in a single day was 4,408 on Wednesday. Most days before that, orders were capped at roughly 1,800. The site accepted 6,500 orders on Thursday. 

"As order fulfillment capacity increases, the PLCB will continue increasing the number of orders it takes each day, expecting to be able to accept 10,000 or more orders daily in coming days," PLCB officials said.