Sheetz Wins Beer Battle

Pa. retailer wins right to sell suds at "convenience restaurant"

Published in CSP Daily News

ALTOONA, Pa. -- Sheetz Inc. has once again won the right to sell beer at its "convenience restaurant" in Altoona, Pa., thanks to a ruling yesterday by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), the retailer said.

"We are happy that the PLCB has decided to grant Sheetz the right to sell beer at our Altoona convenience restaurant," said Stan Sheetz, president and CEO of Sheetz. "While we maintain that Pennsylvania's beer laws must be reformed, this decision allows us to follow today's state law while serving our customers who wish to buy beer at Sheetz."

In 2004, [image-nocss] the PLCB granted Sheetz an E-license to sell beer at its convenience restaurant in Altoona. At that time, the PLCB indicated Sheetz did not need to sell beer for on-premise consumption. However, the Malt Beverage Distributors Association (MBDA) filed suit to stop the sales, and the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court revoked the company's beer license, requiring it to allow customers to drink on premise, at the store.

In response, Sheetz re-applied stating that it would allow for on-premise consumption at the Altoona location. "Today's ruling is the end of that process, but not the end of the battle," Stan Sheetz said.

"Pennsylvania remains one of a few states that continue to operate under a Prohibition-era set of laws, while millions of people across the United States enjoy the freedom and convenience of purchasing alcohol in convenience and grocery stores," he said. "Granting this same freedom to the residents of the Commonwealth is long overdue, and we urge our lawmakers to see past state lines and special interest groups and modernize our beer laws."

The company said that it continues to support Senate Bill 1300, sponsored by Senator John Rafferty (R-44) that will reform the state's beer laws. More information on the company's position can be found at www.freemybeer.com.

Yesterday's PLCB ruling affects only the single convenience restaurant. Sheetz said it is hoping to resume beer sales there as soon as possible.Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz operates more than 350 convenience locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.
( Click here to view previous
CSP Daily News coverage of the Sheetz beer "saga.")