Economic Development

NY Official: PA liquor laws ‘#dumb’

PA Wine & Spirits Store interior courtesy of PA Liquor Control Board

PA Wine & Spirits Store interior courtesy of PA Liquor Control Board

Like many out-of-towners who never before had to deal with the vagaries of PA's liquor laws, Rich Azzopardi's July Fourth was less spirited than he would have liked, after he found himself unable to buy wine or beer to take back to the hotel room he was sharing with his wife near Philadelphia International Airport before she flew to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. And, like countless people in the same situation – Keystone State natives as well – he tweeted about it.

Unlike many out-of-towners, as the senior deputy communications director for NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Azzopardi's tweet – "While NY simplifies & modernizes blue laws, PA orders liquor stores closed on major holidays & only allows beer to be sold in 12 packs. #dumb" – raised more than a few eyebrows.

When reached by phone, Azzopardi acknowledged that he sent the missive out of frustration.

"The only thing I know is, we tried to get some wine, and I was surprised" that it wasn't possible to do so during a federal holiday, he explained. "I was also surpised when I tried to buy some beer, – they had six-packs available, but I had to buy two at a time," he added.

Throughout the call, Azzopardi went to great lengths to clarify that his tweet was sent as a civilian. "It was made in a moment of frustration, with me being exasperated," he said. "It's not a comment on the current administration" of Gov. Tom Wolf – "it's not meant to be a slight to the administration at all."  

The Wolf administration did not respond to a request for comment.