Battling Over Beer

What was the single most difficult transition when I came to western Pennsylvania 14 years ago? That’s easy.

I went to get some beer at the store .. and found out you could not buy beer at the store. Come to find out you could not buy it at  a drug store, a convenience store or a gas station. You could not buy it in a boat, you could not by it in a moat, you could not buy it with some ham, you could not buy it Sam I am ( Sorry, I went off on a Dr. Suess frenzy there ).

The bottom line is you could not buy beer in the places you could buy beer all over this country. Heck, you could not buy beer and wine in the same place. What is up with that?

14 years later, I still have no idea why this state treats alcohol like plutonium though I sense  I would have an easier time purchasing this radioactive material to make bombs than to buy beer.

I’m not sure where this puritanical feeling about alcohol in this state began, but you know its getting out of hand when the local Giant Eagle is attempting to make history and become the first grocery store in western Pennsylvania to sell beer. Of course, even that bit of history is somewhat convoluted. Under the plan approved by the supervisors of Pine Township where the Giant Eagle is located, the store would sell on two six packs per person at a time. As you might imagine if you have ever hand a Super Bowl party, two six packs is not going to cut it with your guests.


Even with this caveat, we actually found people who thought the idea of selling beer at Giant Eagle is a BAD idea. One person said it would encourage drinking among young people because the beer is so accessible. Hello? If a young person wants to get beer, I doubt they are going to go to a Giant Eagle to pick it up … and I sincerely doubt anyone is going to want to drink because they happen to see beer while they are shopping groceries. I would think among young people the I.C. Light spot running on all three local newscasts would do more to inspire me to drink than seeing the King of Beers are the supermarket.

I just feel the state should get over this feeling that alcohol is something that should be regulated beyond keeping it out of the hands of people who are under the age of 21. Pennsylvania hardly leads the nation in fewest traffic fatalities.

I have lived in other states and have found that convenient places to buy alcohol fails to make people drink more. If anything, I would assume the inverse is true. The more you try to limit access to something, the more people will want it because of the mystery behind it all.

Pennsylvania, please join the 21st century and allow supermarkets and convenient stores to sell beer and wine … make sure each establishment cards those purchasing alcohol … and don’t sell it after 8pm.

Problem solved.

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