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The Fresh Grocer will start selling beer before January 2015.

Credit: Irina Bit-Babik , Ilana Wurman, Ilana Wurman

Beer and wine may be coming to the Fresh Grocer at 40th and Walnut streets.

Fresh Grocer representatives presented a proposal to the Spruce Hill Zoning Committee at the University of the Sciences’ Rosenberger Hall Thursday night. Fresh Grocer’s Drexel Hill location currently sells alcohol, and the representatives said that their lease with Penn permits them to sell at their 40th Street location as well.

Greg Peil, managing director of Bridge Development Group — which runs FroGro, among other companies — stated Fresh Grocer's motivation to sell beer and alcohol as “to remain competitive” and “to remain cutting edge.” He explained that there has been an increasing trend among grocery stores such as Acme, Giant and Wegmans to include the sale of beer and wine in their stores. Fresh Grocer has applied for its liquor license and has been approved, according to the representatives.

Fresh Grocer will maintain the current trend among grocery stores to focus on selling mainly craft beers. The representative said the grocery store intends for only 30 percent of its beer to be domestic. As per its lease with Penn, Fresh Grocer will not sell anything larger than 30 ounces. Penn Executive Director of Real Estate Ed Datz said that the University is OK with the proposal, but they “are still working through the operational aspects.”

The second floor mezzanine area will be totally renovated to provide a location for alcohol sales. Beer and wine will only be able to be purchased at this location. The representatives stressed the high security measures that they have planned, including on-hand security and video monitoring among other aspects. The proposal packet that the representatives handed out states their point-of-sale system “incorporates the Viage Verification System that requires the purchaser to have their driver’s license scanned for appropriate 'Date of Birth' certification to enable the checkout process to proceed.”

Fresh Grocer's lease with Penn permits on-premise consumption, but the company does not plan to create a pub within the store, as exists in other grocery stores like Wegmans. Beer and wine will only be sold from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., in accordance with Penn’s lease.

The Spruce Hill Zoning Committee met after the meeting Thursday night to make a decision and said they plan to get back to Fresh Grocer as soon as possible.

Related: Fresh Grocer to start selling beer

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