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May 25, 2016

Six-packs coming to Pennsylvania gas stations, but none in Philly area

Wawa seeks to sell alcohol at Delaware County location

Seven Pennsylvania gas stations received approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to tell sell six-packs of beer on Wednesday, opening the door for many other gas stations to do likewise.

None one of the gas stations that received a liquor license, however, are located in the Philadelphia region. The closest is in Schuylkill County, several hours away.

But Wawa Inc. is planning to begin selling six-packs at its Concord, Delaware County location. The popular convenience-store chain reached an agreement with Concord Township last August to add the separate eating space required to gain a license.

It is unclear whether Wawa has submitted an application to the PLCB or is considering selling six-packs at other Pennsylvania locations. Spokeswoman Lori Bruce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For years, any establishment selling liquid fuels or oil was prohibited by the Pennsylvania Liquor Code from holding liquor licenses. But a recent Commonwealth Court ruling affirmed the PLCB's interpretation that malt and brewed beverages can be sold on the same property – as long as the sales take place at separate locations.

The ruling, in Water Street Beverage, Ltd. vs. PLCB affirmed the board's decision to grant a license to Weis Cafe, which operates beer cafes in various grocery stores across Pennsylvania.

Now, gas stations can sell six-packs if they establish a "separate and distinct" sales point from the area where gas is purchased, PLCB spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell said. That includes a separate entrance and cash register.

They also must establish seating capacity for an eating place or restaurant where the alcohol will be sold.

The seven licenses submitted by gas stations and approved by the PLCB were for restaurant and eating place licenses, which enables them to sell up to 192 fluid ounces (two six-packs) per transaction. Two other gas stations received distributor licenses that enable limit them to selling full cases or original containers containing at least 128 fluid ounces. 

Gov. Tom Wolf praised the PLCB for approving the license applications.

“’Freeing the six-pack’ will make the commonwealth more inviting for customers and businesses,” Wolf said in a statement. “I applaud the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for approving these applications and respectfully ask that they approve similar subsequent applications that otherwise meet PLCB standards in order to improve customer service and convenience for Pennsylvania.”