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Don't cross state lines illegally to buy liquor: Distilleries remind everyone they're open and selling

As the state works out the kinks on Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board website, distilleries remind customers they are open too for liquor sales

When Pennsylvania shut down its state stores in March, Old Republic Distillery said it found new customers coming to its doors.

"Initially we were a little concerned because we do have 4 products in the state store. But, then it kind of turned into a silver lining for us," said co-owner Denise Mathias who added, "our bottle sales jumped in the tasting room because they could no longer serve bottles in the state store."

Now as the state works out the kinks of its state store website to allow for deliveries, distilleries say business keeps thriving.

Credit: Fine Wines & Good Spirits
Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board website tells customers it is "unable to take your order" at this time

"I know they're having a lot of difficulties with the site going down or being overloaded. So, in the meantime, everyone here in York and the surrounding areas can still come here and purchase," said Mathias.

Old Republic Distillery admits it cannot serve cocktails right now in its tasting room. But, it is offering bottles for pick-up or delivery.

"We are getting a lot of new customers who never knew we were here," she said. 

The distillery is also working to help the community by making bottles of surface disinfectant, which they have donated to a number of essential workers including police, fire, the post office, and EMS.

As for the surge in new customers at their distillery, Mathias said, "we're just hoping that after this all goes away that they keep coming back here to visit us."

Find Old Republic Distillery hours and delivery here.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to buy liquor across state lines.

Pennsylvania State Police provides this explanation of that law:

"It is unlawful to import, possess or sell liquor, wine or
malt or brewed beverages (basically any and all alcoholic beverages) from
another state.  Each of these violations
constitutes an unclassified misdemeanor. The penalty is a fine from $100 - $500
and, upon failure to pay, imprisonment from one to three months. An individual
charged would be subject to being fingerprinted and photographed, as an
unclassified misdemeanor is treated as a misdemeanor 3. I have included
excerpts from the Liquor Code relating to these violations where liquor and
wine are involved. There are separate but similar sections relating to malt and
brewed beverages.

Liquor Code 491
(1) For any person, by himself or by an employee or
agent, to expose or keep for sale, or directly or indirectly, or upon any
pretense or upon any device, to sell or offer to sell any liquor within this
Commonwealth, except in accordance with the provisions of this act and the
regulations of the board. ….

(2) For any person, except a manufacturer or the board or
the holder of a sacramental wine license or of an importer’s license, to
possess or transport any liquor or alcohol within this Commonwealth which was
not lawfully acquired prior to January first, one thousand nine hundred and
thirty-four, or has not been purchased from a Pennsylvania Liquor Store or a
licensed limited winery in Pennsylvania, except in accordance with section 488
or the board’s regulations.
(8) For any person, to import alcohol into this
Commonwealth, or to sell alcohol to any person, except in accordance with
section 488 and the regulations of the board...