Sheetz is leading a crusade for beer sales with its petition drive started a few weeks ago at www.freemybeer.com, and the company’s CEO notes that consumers are offering overwhelming support.
“We’re getting lots of people signing up,” Stan Sheetz, president and CEO of the Altoona-based company told The Sentinel Friday. “We’re not surprised at all.”
The online petition states that signers support the “convenient and responsible sale of beer in Pennsylvania’s grocery and convenience stores.” When complete, the petition will be given to state lawmakers in an effort to reverse the current Pennsylvania laws that dictate the sale of alcohol.
Before beginning the petition, Sheetz surveyed customers on whether they would buy beer in Sheetz stores and 70% said yes.
Sheetz has locations in six states and currently sells beer in stores located in five of those six states. Pennsylvania is the only state where Sheetz stores are located that does not allow alcohol to be sold in convenience stores.
But there are those who don’t want the laws to change, one being The Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania.
“I think when people understand keeping beer sales with beer distributors… there’s more control,” Mary Lou Hogan, executive secretary of the association told The Sentinel.
Pennsylvania laws regarding the sale of alcohol date back to 1933, when prohibition ended and Americans could buy and drink alcohol lawfully, noted Nick Hays, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB). And while liquor laws don’t address grocery or convenience stores specifically, they also aren’t listed as establishments that can obtain a liquor license.