East Liberty is now home to the largest Fine Wine and Good Spirits store in the state. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board refurbished and expanded its existing store to more than 35 percent of its previous size. At 17,674 square feet, the shop (off South Highland Avenue, in the Eastside development near Whole Foods) now has plenty of space to store and sell booze.
It's bright and airy, designed similarly to last year's remodel of the Wexford and Monroeville stores. While the East Liberty store already had a large collection of spirits, PLCB spokesperson Stacy Kriedeman says via email that the renovated store's selection of luxury wine and spirits has been further expanded.
One shopper, Liz Mackenzie, said that while she liked the remodel, "There still aren't enough South African wines for me."
As much as I dig the new look in East Liberty, I'd really love to see some of the smaller, totally outdated state stores developed into curated boutiques. Wouldn't it be cool, for example, to see Store 0209, in Central Lawrenceville remodeled from its current 1980s Soviet Union aesthetic? Because it's the only liquor store in the neighborhood, the state would need to stock affordable wine and spirits, too. But it would be nice to see an expanded line of Amrut alongside the Old Crow.
Kriedeman writes that the PLCB is "in the process of rebranding all of our retail locations. However, we're doing it in the most efficient way possible. As leases come up, we do an analysis to determine if the store should be expanded, consolidated with another store, relocated or closed."
Kriedeman says that 60 stores have been remodeled so far. The next Premium Collection store to open in Western Pennsylvania will be Oct. 16, in Murrysville. And some fine-tuning — such as fixtures for better storing high-end wine — are in the works for already-remodeled stores.
Now someone please get Ms. Mackenzie — and me — more South African wines.