We’re so close to getting wine in grocery stores. On Monday, for the first time since Prohibition, it will be legal for grocery stores and hotels and restaurants with applicable licenses to sell wine. But they’ll only be allowed to apply on Monday. The wine won’t magically appear. It’s going to take a little while.
Here’s a quick rundown of when that wine should finally hit the shelves, where you’ll be able to find it and why grocery store wine might not be all it’s cracked up to be (sorry!):
Don’t be surprised if smaller markets and corner stores that sell beer but don’t currently have these types of licenses get the opportunity to sell wine in the future. But for now the permits to sell wine are being offered only to stores that have a restaurant liquor license.
Billy Penn confirmed the following grocery stores will apply for wine licenses:
- ACME, 19th and Oregon
- ACME, 920 Red Lion Road
- Fresh Grocer, 40th and Walnut
- Fresh Grocer, 56th and Chestnut
- Fresh Grocer, 5301 Chew Avenue
- TheRichmondShops.com IGA, 2497 Aramingo Avenue
- ShopRite of Parkside, 1575 N. 52nd Street
A quick caveat on the ShopRite location: It probably won’t get wine for a while longer than these other stores. Sandy Brown, spokesperson for the chain, said the location needs to renovated. If you’re close to the ‘burbs, the ShopRites in Wyncote, Bensalem and Fairless Hill will apply for the wine licenses and be ready as soon as they are granted the license.
A handful of other grocery stores have restaurant licenses, per PLCB data given to Philly.com, but management at these stores could not be reached for comment. So it’s unknown as to whether they will apply for the wine license. But here’s the list of the rest of them:
- Carolina Deli, 2952 Ridge Avenue
- Fuwa Supermarket, 3897 W. Ford Road
- Snyder Supermarket, 2700 Snyder Avenue
- Whole Foods, 2001 Pennsylvania Avenue
Good news. Though wine won’t available in stores Monday, it should be ready soon. Don Petzak, manager of TheRichmondShops.com IGA, said the PLCB has said it should take five to 10 days for a license to be granted. A PLCB spokesperson declined to give a timeline but said the PLCB anticipates they’ll be able to act quickly.
That means if things go according to plan wine should be on the shelves of the above grocery stores by mid-to-late August.
There’s always a catch. Even when you have arguably the best news for alcohol drinkers in this state since prohibition. And the catch here is the price. Grocery store wine is going to be expensive.
That’s because grocery stores must still buy directly from the state, not at wholesale prices. Though they’ll be buying in larger quantities, they’ll receive just a 10 percent discount (plus they have to pay $2,000 to obtain the permit). Under the law, they can’t sell the bottle of wine for less than the PLCB price, and there’s no reason why any stores would. They’re more than likely going to have to sell it for plenty more, perhaps as much as 66 percent more. A $20 bottle of wine would become a $30 bottle of wine at the grocery store. Earlier this summer, wine importer Jason Malumed explained in detail why this would happen.
Customers will have to decide whether the convenience of buying wine at the grocery store — or restaurant or hotel — is worth the added cost. Petzak said if the purchasing structure were different he’d probably expand to have a whole new section in his store for wine. With the need to charge higher prices than the state liquor stores, he’ll be a little more cautious at first.
“For now,” he said, “we’re dipping our toes in the water.”