Beer sales at restaurants run by the Wegmans supermarket chain got court approval Monday in a pair of cases that expand where consumers can buy take-out alcohol.The bolded sentence makes me wonder who on the staff of the Times Leader decided this story should be cast as so unfair against beer distributors. It would have been more accurate to simply state "The unanimous decision in Commonwealth Court allows Wegmans to use the restaurant licenses they legally acquired to sell beer by the drink and up to two six-packs to go, just like other restaurant licenses."
The unanimous decision in Commonwealth Court allows patrons to circumvent beer distributors where customers may only purchase beer by the case. The court rejected arguments by the state beer retailers' association that Wegmans created a "legal fiction" by routing suds sales through cafes that are attached by an interior passageway to their grocery stores.
The ruling upheld license approvals by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for Wegmans stores in Bethlehem and Williamsport. The Pennsylvania Malt Beverage Distributors Association sued last March to appeal the agency's decisions.
But here's my takeaway from the article, in that this is a non-event:
"There hasn't been a change in the law, there hasn't been a change in restaurant licenses, there hasn't been a change in the LCB policy," said liquor board spokesman Nick Hays. "What has happened is some of these stores have made business decisions to incorporate full-service restaurants in their businesses."
Like I keep saying: this is not new law. This has been legal for years, it's just that no one's done it. Now that supermarkets like Wegmans are doing nice in-store restaurants, though, why not? It's just a restaurant. Is the MBDA against restaurants and bars?
The real problem here is the case law, the concomitant "2 sixers at a bar" law, and the artificial and arbitrary nature of booze laws in general in the Commonwealth. Supermarkets can't sell beer, beer stores can't sell groceries, delis can sell both...why?
There is no answer, because the reasons are ridiculous. Just one more Reason...