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Pennsylvania Alcohol Laws



You may already be aware of some of the unusual laws our state has surrounding the purchase of alcohol. For starters, most states allow alcoholic beverages to be sold in gas stations and grocery stores. However, Pennsylvania is an alcoholic beverage control state, which means it has set restrictions on who is allowed to buy and sell alcohol as well as where and when it is allowed to be sold. The retail stores that are allowed to sell alcohol are only permitted to sell alcohol from noon to 5pm on Sundays and usually from 11am to 9pm Monday through Saturday. Pennsylvania does not allow any beverage containing alcohol to be sold in shops, convenience stores or gas stations. Wines and spirits can only be sold at wine and spirit stores owned by the state. Throughout the state, the prices must be kept the same and if you’re under the legal drinking age of 21, you cannot even enter the store.

If you want to purchase beer in Pennsylvania, you cannot just visit your local supermarket. Instead, you must go to a licensed tavern, and under the law they can only sell you two six-packs. For parties or gatherings that require more than two six-packs, you must go to a distributor who sells beer by the case. Beverage distributors usually sell other drinks such as soda and malt liquor, but under the law they cannot sell you hard liquor or wine—that is reserved for wine and spirit shops. If you are under 21, you can legally visit a beverage distributor but you cannot purchase any alcohol. In fact, the interesting thing about Pennsylvania law is that any minor (those under 21) cannot even buy non-alcoholic beverages. This is the only state that has this law about non-alcoholic beverages. Minors that are between 18 and 21 years of age are allowed to transport and sell alcohol.

Like other states, Pennsylvania also has open container laws. In particular, these laws pertain to open alcohol containers in vehicles. Alcoholic containers that have been opened can only be transported in a trunk where no one can reach them.

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