Wine-sale Measures Pass House Casey Bill Changed To Allow New Shops

Posted: April 29, 1987

HARRISBURG — In a pair of surprise moves, the House approved amendments to Gov. Casey's liquor bill last night that would permit beer distributors to sell wine coolers and require the state to establish a new set of specialty wine shops.

Both developments, which are likely to be reconsidered today, came near the end of almost five hours of debate, during which the lawmakers considered 52 amendments.

With the passage of the wine-cooler and wine amendments - and the likelihood of more amendments to come - Majority Leader James J. Manderino (D., Westmoreland) cut off debate at 7 p.m.

"They're not reading, they're not paying attention," Manderino said of the lawmakers.

Leaders expect to resume debate and vote on Casey's bill today.

Casey's bill would retain strict state control of liquor and wine sales, while shifting enforcement of liquor laws to the state police. The part-time Liquor Control Board would be replaced by a full-time Alcoholic Beverages


The wine-cooler and wine measures were a drastic departure from the bill

Casey submitted to the legislature three weeks ago. The governor has said he is opposed to any expansion of wine and liquor sales in the state. Yesterday's amendments would do just that.

The measure to permit beer distributors to sell wine coolers, which are now sold only in state liquor stores, came on a 100-95 vote at the behest of a Democrat, Rep. David Sweet of Washington County.

It also came three hours after another, more complicated proposal to allow wine-cooler sales by beer distributors was defeated overwhelmingly, 161-35.

That amendment, by Rep. Brian D. Clark (D., Allegheny), also would have allowed tavern owners to sell six-packs of wine coolers and would have lifted restrictions on the number of six-packs of beer that taverns can sell.

Manderino predicted that the Sweet amendment would fail on a reconsideration vote today. "My expectation is that it will be removed before it leaves the House," Manderino said.

The wine specialty store amendment, offered by Rep. Joseph M. Gladeck Jr. (R., Montgomery), would create state-owned and state-run shops selling only wine. Shops would be determined on a population basis, with Philadelphia getting five.

"You have to be cognizant of the fact that Pennsylvanians . . . historically go across the river to buy," Gladeck said. "They simply can't get a good bottle of premium wine" in Pennsylvania.

The proposal passed by a 114-81 vote. Manderino said he expected the measure to stand, although he said the formula for determining the number of specialty stores could be changed.

Earlier, the House defeated, 163-34, a Gladeck proposal to permit private wine shops.

Several other changes to Casey's proposal were approved, including allowing the ABC to deliver liquor and wine to taverns at the taverns' expense.

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