PA House Bill Introduced To Provide Broader Access For C-Stores To Obtain A Beer License

Legislation that would amend Pennsylvania liquor law to give smaller convenience stores fairer access to beer licenses has been introduced.

Rep. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) has sponsored House Bill 2467, strongly supported by PPA, that would create a new C-license system.

This would eliminate the current requirement that a store have 30 seats for customers as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to sell beer. Many stores do not have the space for this much seating, or to create it would be cost prohibitive.

The bill would create a flat license fee of $2,500, with an annual renewable fee. This would change the current system which requires businesses to bid for existing restaurant licenses to then convert to beer licenses.

This has created a bidding war for a limited number of available licenses that in many parts of the state have resulted in licenses costing upward of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The C-Store would be limited to stores selling motor fuel, and would be for take-out sales only. Rep. O’Neal has introduced the bill to address these unfair aspects of the current beer license system.

The current system creates barriers for smaller stores from fair competition with other stores also competing for customers for gasoline, tobacco and other c-store offerings.

The bill has been referred to the House Liquor Control Committee.

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