Distributors worry as high court delves into beer sales dispute

MOUNT JOY, Pa. (WHTM) – The idea of getting a six-pack of beer at a convenience store sounds nice to Anthony Eager.

“I guess it would be pretty convenient,” the Millersville resident told ABC 27 News. “I mean, there is a convenience store down the street from everyone’s house.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said this week it would hear a case about whether or not convenience stores can carry beer and gas without breaking the law. The Liquor Code bans alcohol sales in locations, places, and properties where gas is sold.

Sheetz has been selling beer at many of its locations across the state since 2014, including a store in Shippensburg. The Rutters in Leola has also applied for a liquor license.

The trend is upsetting to beer distributors.

“The Liquor Control Board is breaking their own law by allowing a place that sells gas to sell alcohol,” said Neal Fulkerson, manager of Roots Beer Distributor in Mount Joy.

Fulkerson told ABC 27 News that distributors worry what the ruling could mean for their bottom line.

“We’re a small business,” he said. “We don’t have purchasing power like Sheetz, Turkey Hill, or anything like that. Of course more competition is hard for us.”

Fulkerson said if the court rules in favor of convenience stores, the chains will have the advantage when competing for your cash.

“We’re limited by what were allowed to sell,” he explained. “We follow all these rules, but then the LCB goes and they’re issuing licenses to gas stations.”

ABC 27 News reached out to Sheetz for a comment but didn’t hear back from the company as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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