In five out of six states with Sheetz stores, the company can sell alcohol directly out of its stores. The one outlier is Pennsylvania and Sheetz does not agree with it. The Shippensburg Sheetz is a huge part of the movement against privatization of alcohol sales in Pennsylvania, which has led to a legal battle in the community.
On July 17, 2014, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) decided to allow beer sales at the Sheetz located on King Street in Shippensburg. Less than three weeks later, on August 20, Sheetz was forced to suspend the sale of alcohol at the new store.
The Civic Club of Shippensburg, whose home is located across the street from Sheetz, filed a petition to stop the sale of alcohol based on a state law passed years ago.
According to Fox 43, Charles Caputo, the attorney for the Civic Club said in a public statement: “The Pennsylvania Liquor Code expressly prohibits the Liquor Control Board from approving a liquor license to a place, property or location which sells gasoline…and anybody who has been to the Sheetz in Shippensburg (or any Sheetz for that matter) can obviously see they sell gasoline. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ignored this fact and approved the license.”
Sheetz launched a “Free My Beer” campaign three years ago, and customers who would want the sale of alcoholic beverages in convenience stores, such as Sheetz, are encouraged to contact their local legislators. “None of the other states have such mind-boggling, restrictive alcohol laws as we do here in Pennsylvania,” Sheetz stated on its “Free My Beer” campaign website. “They were created during the Prohibition era, but now exist to support an unjust monopoly for a few. That monopoly artificially inflates prices, limits distribution and hurts the consumer.”
Many people throughout Shippensburg feel the same way about the suspension of alcohol sales in the local Sheetz store. “If you want beer, you’re going to buy beer. It doesn’t matter where you get it,” Shippensburg resident John Vayanos said. “I don’t drink and I don’t care where they sell beer. Just be responsible.”
A Shippensburg University student, who chose not to be named, also agreed with Vayanos. “If you want beer, you’re going to get beer,” he said, “There are other places to get it in town, and if people can’t get it here, they’ll get it somewhere else.”
Sheetz is currently fighting the petition to suspend alcohol sales at the Shippensburg store. As stated on their doors, customers are urged to go to freemybeer.com and give their opinions to legislators.
Until the legal battle is over, Shippensburg’s Sheetz’ “beer cave” will remain locked up.