Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Living Where There's Liquor on Every Corner

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Living Where There's Liquor on Every Corner

Article excerpt

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Moving to the hot, sunny Southwest has been good for my wife and me -- seeing our daughter and her family every day, avoiding the winter snow and ice, using flat city roads and 75-mph highways, driving up steep, beautiful mountains with weirdly shaped vertical rocks and incredible vistas looking down on the city, walking through deserts with tall cacti, and watching stunning lightning-filled skies and drenching monsoon rains.

But close behind those benefits has been escaping the absurd liquor laws of Pennsylvania and being able to buy beer, liquor and wine in the same place, and in lots of places - supermarkets, pharmacies, big-box stores, even convenience stores.

Though 2,000 miles away from Pennsylvania now, I'll always love the state where I was born and spent most of my life until last November. And I've been following Post-Gazette articles about the ongoing battle between Harrisburg Republicans and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf over whether the state-owned liquor store system - still in place after 82 years - should finally be converted to a system of private enterprise.

At the risk of seeming like an outsider telling Pennsylvanians what to do, I will anyway: Please convert to privately owned stores and make life so much more convenient for buyers of beer, wine and liquor.

Look, I know the power of the 5,000-member liquor union that staffs the state stores, and of the beer distributorships that run the main stores where beer is sold. I covered them for years as a Harrisburg reporter for the Post-Gazette.

I also remember feeling good several years ago when we were finally able to buy six-packs at selected Wegman's stores. (I loved being carded in my 60s.) It was a little progress, but now it seems like a pathetic mini-step for consumers.

Arizona is among the vast majority of states - 48, in fact - where liquor is sold in private stores and not stores run by the government. Pennsylvania and Mormon-dominated Utah are the only ones that make things difficult for people. Is that really the company Pennsylvania wants to be in?

I know Mothers Against Drunk Driving also favors the restrictive Pennsylvania system, but really, 48 states are wrong and two are right? …

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