Beer enthusiasts received good news last Wednesday when Pennsylvania State legislators passed a bill allowing beer distributors to extend their hours on Sunday.
Currently, distributors may only sell beer between the hours of noon and 5 p.m. on Sundays. The new bill would allow stores to sell from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bill will also allow restaurants that serve brunch on weekends to begin selling alcoholic drinks at 9 a.m.
Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to approve the legislation and sign the bill into law, according to his spokesperson.
The bill is part of a larger effort by Republicans in Harrisburg to privatize the responsibilities currently held by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Many of the laws that make up the state’s strict liquor regulations date back to the end of Prohibition and, to many, seem outdated.
In 1933, under the leadership of Gov. Gifford Pinchot, the state created the PLCB to make the purchase of alcohol inconvenient and expensive.
“Our system of state stores harkens back to a time government thought it knew best what was good for us,” Corbett said in a press statement. “History has shown —as it always will —that the people, not government bureaucrats, know best how to live their lives.”
In October, Corbett commissioned a report on the financial advantages of privatization. While auctioning off retail liquor stores would raise $1.6 billion for the state, it would leave approximately 5,000 workers unemployed.
Penn students have mixed reactions to beer vendors’ extended hours. College junior Erik Pierre-Louis believes that the new law will not have a heavy impact on consumption habits. “Anybody who’s intending to get alcohol could budget their schedule around when it’s open and when it’s not open.”
However, Wharton junior Michael Nicolescu believes that extending the hours will change the drinking culture by increasing availability. “With the restricted hours, people tend to buy in bulk in advance so they can have it throughout the time when the places are closed,” he said. “So at least now, people might be a little more relaxed about buying alcohol.”
Contributing writer Lois Lee contributed reporting to this article.