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Gas Station In Canonsburg Among First To Get Beer License

CANONSBURG (KDKA) -- It's official.

A gas station in Canonsburg is about to sell beer.

"I'm really excited, and my customers are even more excited about this because they will be able to buy everything at one stop," says shop owner Paul Lathia. "One-stop shopping."

Lathia owns the Sunoco station, which is also a mini-mart.

In the empty space where cars used to be repaired, Lathia says he hopes to sell beer in 30 days.

His license was one of nine approved Wednesday morning by the Liquor Control Board.

Some customers welcomed the news.

"Oh, I think it's very convenient. I do. I don't drink a lot of beer, but my husband does beer. So yeah, I think it'd be great, " says Julie McLaughlin of North Strabane.

Unlike a few Sheetz's and GetGo's that have restaurant licenses, Lathia's license is as a beer distributor.

Gov. Tom Wolf praised the Liquor Control Board (LCB), saying, "'Freeing the six-pack' will make the Commonwealth more inviting for customers and businesses. I applaud the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for approving these applications and respectfully ask that they approve similar subsequent applications."

But beer distributor Frank Pistella, first vice president of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania, says allowing gas stations to sell beer is not up to the governor or the LCB.

Rather, it's a decision for the state legislature, Pistella told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Pistella: "It should be done, solved, legislatively."

Delano: "Not through the LCB?"

Pistella: "Not through the LCB. It's not their job to make laws."

Now don't expect a whole lot of gas stations to suddenly open a beer distributorship.

The LCB says that in order to do this you need a liquor license and they have not increased the number of liquor licenses in Pennsylvania.

That's up to the General Assembly.

So in order for a gas station to do this, they have to buy a liquor license from somebody else, and there's just not a whole lot of them for sale out there.

For some, the fewer gas stations selling beer the better.

"I don't agree with it. I think they can get it at other places. We have too many young kids, too many accidents," says Melissa Dami of Hickory.

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