How to Get Your Booze in Pennsylvania (The Liquor Man Delivers!)

When Pennsylvania's state-owned liquor stores closed, getting your favorite spirits or wines became difficult. Local distilleries are filling in the void.

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Pennsylvania's uniquely state-owned liquor and wine stores are closed, leaving many scrambling recently to find the booze they crave during these self-isolating days.

Going to Delaware is not an option, unless you have know how to get around the state troopers now acting as liquor store bouncers during the coronavirus pandemic.

And New Jersey? Well, who wants to cross the Delaware River if you don't have to until the outbreak is over.

After some, ahem, investigative reporting for strictly journalistic purposes – and not, say, to find out where we too could get something to drink – NBC10 discovered some relatively simple ways to get the booze you need to get through these long (days and) nights.

Least-Best Option: Pennsylvania's State-Run Liquor Website

This intrepid reporter has spent the last few days trying to gain access to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's website for purchasing liquor and wine. It has not gone well. In fact, it's been a fail. This is what shows up:

Getting booze through Pennsylvania's online portal has not worked out well for this reporter.

A spokesman asks that "people be patient" as the PLCB is "randomizing access to the (online) store."

"You have to keep trying throughout the day and random chance you’ll get on," PLCB spokesman Shawn Kelly said Monday. "Eventually, you will get through."

Better Option: Get Booze Delivered Directly From Liquor Distilleries and Wineries

Wineries like Chaddsford in Chester County and distilleries in Philadelphia like Palmer Distilling and New Liberty let you choose what products you'd like on their websites and have it delivered to your door.

"It likely won't be overnight, at this point. We're not Amazon," according to one distiller. "But we will get it to you as soon as possible."

Most of the businesses will provide free shipping with an order above a certain amount.

Best Option: Pick Up Your Booze Same Day

New Liberty Distillery in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia allows buyers to place their order online, then pick up their spirits the same day at their location on Cadwallader Street. There is no minimum price required. And the pickup is contactless. Wine lovers are fortunate that some grocery stores sell it, along with beer. The selection, however, can leave one wanting.

Premium Option: Get Your Liquor Delivered to You from the Distiller

At least one distiller is offering to personally drop off his gin to your door. Walter Palmer, the namesake of Palmer Distilling based in Manayunk, says he's been working every day since the coronavirus pandemic shut down Pennsylvania three weeks ago.

"I've been delivering cases to people for the last three days, just from an email I sent," Palmer said as he made personal deliveries Monday afternoon. "It's been non-stop."

The catch: Gin-to-your-door orders must be at least one case, which is six bottles. That runs $220. Of course, smaller orders will be shipped through FedEx.

"I just left the FedEx Store," Palmer said. "I shipped 30 boxes today."

He said one side effect of the pandemic is that people are being reminded about the perks of buying local.

"I think it’s a strong case for local people supporting local businesses. When I turn up at people’s doors, they try to have a chit chat because, well, one, everyone is so lonely. But two, they regularly say how happy they are that they’re helping to support local business," Palmer said.

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