Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal Wednesday to get Pennsylvania out of the wine and spirits business was met by a range of reaction from consumers to restaurateurs and beer distributors.
Corbett's plan would replace hundreds of state-owned stores with twice as many private outlets and allow beer and wine to be sold at supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores and big-box stores.
Vincent Cao, of Emmaus, who was stocking up on gifts of red wine and cognac at the Wine and Spirits Shop in Emmaus, liked the idea of privatizing state stores because he would have more places to buy alcohol, such as supermarkets.
"It would be very convenient," Cao said.
Cao said although state store workers would lose their jobs, privatization would also create new jobs.
Others such as M.A. Kline, of Bechtelsville, said, "It doesn't really matter to me either way. As long as we don't have price gouging."
Franco Armetta, owner of the Armetta’s restaurants in Macungie and Emmaus, said his restaurants do a brisk business selling six-packs of beer but he could lose those sales if the state permits the sale of beer in grocery stores.
“But why would they do it? [The state has] a monopoly,” and there’s too much money involved, he said.
Nima Hadian, owner of Shangy's, a beer distributor in Emmaus with the largest selection in the country, said privatization "is a no-brainer."
"We would love the opportunity to sell wine and liquor. Consumers would see four to five times the selection than what they see now," Hadian said.
The new law would enable him to sell quantities of beer smaller than a case, he said.
"There is a lot more risk spending $60 for a case of beer you have never heard of than spending $8 for a four-pack.
"Privatization would give consumers more choice, a more knowledgeable staff and better customer service," he said.
"I don’t think you could find a single consumer who would not be in favor of this, who would say keep it the way it is now."
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