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Alcohol Service Appears Possible at University Park Airport Terminal

on January 03, 2011 9:58 PM

Travelers at University Park Airport may soon be able to buy adult beverages in the commercial terminal.

The Centre County Airport Authority board has agreed to let the local Irving's group apply to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for a liquor license, said authority Director Jim Meyer.

Irving's, which runs a popular bakery, deli and cafe in downtown State College, has a satellite operation inside the airport terminal, in Benner Township. If granted, a liquor license would allow alcohol service only at Irving's airport location, Meyer said.

Irving's had asked the airport authority board if it could offer alcoholic beverages, he said.

"They have said that people ask (about alcohol service) just about every day," Meyer said of Irving's.

Those repeated inquiries, he said, sparked interest in a license.

Benner Township only recently gave up its dry status. And in years past, the airport authority board had thought alcohol service was unnecessary, and didn't want people to overindulge in the terminal, Meyer said.

But "we're not an airport with connecting flights where you're waiting for hours," he said.

The authority board voted without dissent in October to give Irving's the go-ahead, Meyer said. He said board members appeared to be swayed by the volume of travelers asking about alcohol availability.

Plus, he said, alcohol is served in most large airports and is closely regulated. The PLCB offers a special liquor license designated only for airports. And the authority board's decision will allow Irving's to sell only bottles of beer and single servings of wine -- provided that the business applies for and receives a license, Meyer said.

"The state heavily regulates it," he said of airport alcohol service. "There shouldn't be any problems."

The PLCB did not immediately respond to an inquiry last week from StateCollege.com.

Irving's, meanwhile, is continuing to look into the license-application process, business co-owner Marya Schoenholtz said in an e-mail message. She indicated that Irving's has yet to submit application materials to the state.

Under Irving's arrangement at the airport, Meyer said, the airport authority receives five percent of any Irving's revenue in excess of $50,000 per three months.

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