Rutter’s Extends Reach Into Beer Caves

Move comes as Indiana retailers continue fight to loosen alcohol sales laws

YORK, Pa. -- After a year dedicated to, among other things, bringing beer sales to its convenience stores in Pennsylvania, Rutter's Farm Stores will nearly double the number of its stores selling beer in the next few weeks.

For years, strict state alcohol retailing laws prevented c-stores in Pennsylvania from selling cold beer. That changed in May 2016, when Gov. Tom Wolf "freed the six-pack" by signing a bill that opened the door to cold-beer sales in c-store.

Since then, Rutter’s has opened 16 beer caves in its stores in eight different counties and has another 12 in the works.

“We were very happy with the passing of Act 39 and have been running with the opportunity it has given us ever since," said Robert Perkins, vice president of marketing. "We hope to open even more stores in the next year and add wine to as many locations as we can. We want to give our customers the most convenience possible and cannot wait to see where this takes us over the next few years.”

Rutter’s walk-in beer caves are kept at a frosty 29 degrees, and contain a wide assortment of craft, domestic and imported beers and ciders, the company said. Singles and six-packs are available in the front cooler doors, while 12-packs are located inside the beer caves. York, Pa.-based Rutter's operates 65 c-stores in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, c-store retailers in Indiana continue to fight for similar rights after a legislative commission shot down efforts to expand cold-beer sales to grocery and convenience stores in December.

Lawmakers are expected to bring up the issue again in 2018 "with the support of key GOP leaders," according to a report in The Indianapolis Star.

"House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long promised last year they would revise Indiana's post-prohibition era alcohol laws," the newspaper wrote, "after criticizing the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission for violating the legislature's intent and allowing some Ricker's convenience stores the ability to sell cold beer using a restaurant liquor license."

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