BLOG: Big two years for Pa. drinkers

Greg Gross
Several flavors of beer are tapped at the Gift Horse Brewing Company booth during Yorktoberfest Beer and Wine Festival at the York Fairgrounds, Sunday October 11, 2015. John A. Pavoncello -

More changes to how Pennsylvanians buy booze have happened in the past year and a half than any time since the laws were put in place as Prohibition ended.

That's eight decades of the same old thing and then BAM, the taps opened a little more and beer and wine sales became a bit freer.

Reforms to the state's oft-described archaic liquor laws culminated Wednesday when Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a bill that allows certain grocery stores and other outlets, such as restaurants, to sell up to four bottles of wine per transaction.

The law also codified the state Liquor Control Board ruling to allow six-packs of beer to be sold in convenience stores, which Wolf had urged the board to do.

Also under Wolf's watch, the PCLB allowed distributors, once restricted to only selling beer by the case, to offer 12-packs of suds in March 2015.

But Wolf can't take all the credit.

The wave of change started under Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, in December 2014. That's when the PCLB began to allow six-packs of beer to be delivered to customers by restaurants that hold the appropriate license and sell beer on site.

That's a lot to happen in 18 months, especially when Republicans have long marched under the banner of liquor privatization.

In fairness to the GOP, they did send to Wolf last summer a sweeping liquor privatization bill that would have disassembled the state-run liquor stores. Wolf vetoed that bill.

Talk about a whirlwind of change in the last couple of years.

— Reach Greg Gross at or on Twitter at @ggrossyd.