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View Full Version : PA taking steps to privatize Liquor sales?



michaelturtle1
01-31-2013, 11:59
Maybe we will be out of the dark ages?

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics/Pa-Liquor-Privitazation-188911291.html

cowdery
01-31-2013, 12:35
If you live in Pennsylvania and support privatization, this is one of those times when you should let your legislators know where you stand. Do it today.

squire
01-31-2013, 12:58
Email them and tell your friends.

soad
01-31-2013, 13:54
Fingers crosses....although it was stated in previous plans that the Commonwealth would still have a hand (control?) in liquor sales even if they allow liberalization of beer and wine sales....this would leave us with the same bland selection we have now but without the PA website that allows for a fighting chance of getting the few goodies (BTAC and Van Winkle) that trickle into the system.

cowdery
01-31-2013, 13:59
Every state has a 'hand' in liquor sales in that state. Don't jump to conclusions. Most of the details probably aren't decided yet. The law has yet to be written, let alone adopted. You live in a democracy and have been given a chance to influence an important change. Don't dismiss that so easily.

Although he hasn't updated his "Why the PLCB Should Be Abolished" (http://noplcb.blogspot.com/) site since November, I'm sure Lew Bryson will have something up there soon. Lew is the Managing Editor of Whisky Advocate Magazine. He lives in Pennsylvania, as does the magazine's founder and publisher, John Hansell. Lew has been outfront on this subject for some time and his site is a good place for whiskey enthusiasts in Pennsylvania to focus their interests with a eye toward influencing this important piece of legislation.

This is your chance, Pennsylvanians. Don't squander it.

soonami
02-01-2013, 11:21
Lew has been posting about this on his private facebook page.

I like the move toward privatization on a philosophical level, since I don't believe the government has any business being in the liquor business. However, pragmatically, I like parts of the system in place:

* As Soad mentioned, all the BTAC, 4Roses LE, PHC, VW, and other limited products are available online first come, first serve at a reasonable price. Without this, I'm not sure how most of us here would've been able to find BTAC stuff for a good price this fall. Also, they deliver which is huge bonus for people that don't have cars or live in cities.

* The prices are held steady without "gouging" and other dishonorable practices that many private owned stores employ. There's no putting stuff behind the counters for the best customers. Also, the prices for some things are far better in PA than pretty much anywhere else.

* The website, though hard to navigate at times gives a pretty accurate account of the number of bottles at each physical store so if I wanted to get a Baby Saz, I could find which store in my county has it and go there and get it.

* Unionized jobs for people working there. All the stores are staffed by mostly local, legally documented employees that are subject to fair rules and regulations.

I do acknowledge the inconvenience of limited store hours, relative lack of selection at my local store, lack of professional knowledge on some issues, and inconvenience of not being able to buy beer, wine and liquor at the same place or in a grocery store.

qman22
02-01-2013, 11:28
I think privatization is a good idea, but it has to be done right or we will end up worse off than we already are. Gov. Corbett announced some details of his privatization plan today, and part of it is keeping the 18% Johnstown flood tax. This has to be eliminated or we PA consumers will not win in this deal. For those that do not know what this is, it's a tax that is hidden in the price of every bottle of wine and liquor sold in the state. It is not itemized on receipts, so most people do not know they are even paying it. It was enacted as a temporary tax in 1936 to assist Johnstown, PA flood victims, and like most temporary taxes, has become permanent. Regular sales tax is charged on top is this, so when I buy a bottle of liquor here in Allegheny County my total tax on it is actually 25%. I can't take seriously any proposal that doesn't eliminate this tax.

I also share some of the same sentiments as soad. I at least know how to work this system, and get some of the allocated bourbon that we do get available here. What's better the devil you know or the devil you don't?

It would be amazing to have stores like Total Wine and Binny's here in PA, but I have very little faith in the politicians here to get us on the right path or to actually have our best interests in mind when crafting this legislation.

michaelturtle1
02-01-2013, 12:41
My sentiments and thoughts are pretty much the same as above, I do love the current system as I dont' have to suck up to anyone to get PVW, BTAC or any other "special" release I just need to be diligent with checking the website. But I would also love to not have to drive to another state to find something worthwhile on an actual store shelf. In my local LCB store, the white whiskeys with fruit in them out number the bourbons on the shelf. The biggest hope for me is that if they eliminate the current system, they will then open the state up to residents being able to receive liquor shipments. Currently that is the biggest obstacle in my eyes and a huge risk if you find that incredibly special bottle some where in cyberspace and just have to have it.

cowdery
02-02-2013, 13:57
While no one should underestimate the ability of the government to fuck this up, I can say having lived in both control states and license states, that you'll be happier in the long run being in a license state.

BourbonJoe
02-02-2013, 14:56
How many years have I heard that the PALCB was going to privatize. Thornberg tried it. Others have tried it. It's all bullshit and we'll remain with what we have.
Joe :usflag:

Barclay Beach
02-02-2013, 16:11
Joe is probably right. Not holding my breath.

The online store has clear merit, the brick and mortar stores plain suck. Those of us in SE PA near NJ, DE, MD get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Just wish stores in other states could ship to us.

ethangsmith
02-02-2013, 16:50
The culture has been stuck in the Prohibition era for so long in Pennsylvania, that what is popular in other parts of the nation, either never even become popular in PA or take years for it to catch on here. I've found people from around here have no clue what REAL selection is, what a REAL liquor store looks like, and what REAL knowledgeable employees are like. Pennsylvanians have been so brainwashed by the state stores that they know nothing else and this chance for changes scares them. I think enough have woken up and crossed the borders and found the treasure that lies in non state store states and realized it's time to throw out an antique system. CEO Joe Conti just quit- kinda' ominous don't you think? I supposed even he saw the writing on the wall....

soad
02-03-2013, 09:27
How many years have I heard that the PALCB was going to privatize. Thornberg tried it. Others have tried it. It's all bullshit and we'll remain with what we have.
Joe :usflag:


While no one should underestimate the ability of the government to fuck this up

Given the political realities of the Commonwealth, if Corbett says "jump", the legislature asks "how high?". The legislature over the past few years have spearheaded the change with Corbett being noncommittal to the idea. Now that Corbett has come out in favor of privatization it WILL happen but, as Chuck stated, it's not time to party in the streets until we see the true nature of the change.

callmeox
02-03-2013, 10:06
* The prices are held steady without "gouging" and other dishonorable practices that many private owned stores employ. There's no putting stuff behind the counters for the best customers. Also, the prices for some things are far better in PA than pretty much anywhere else.


PA isn't totally immune to the special customer syndrome.

I used to buy Lot B. out of PA when it was on the standard list and an online check showed that the Chairman's Selection store in Erie showed three bottles on the shelf. Since I had never encountered online stock issues with PA stores, I headed off on the 90 mile trip to pick up my bounty. When they weren't on the shelf I asked the store manager and he was nice enough to let me know that they were being held for another customer.

Prices in PA are pretty good, especially when they close out items.

I hope this passes as it will be nice to have a privatized liquor neighbor in close proximity.

ethangsmith
02-03-2013, 10:51
Let's talk about the online releases that the state store employees know are coming and hoard the second they go on sale. Let's talk about all the times I (or my friends) have done inventory searches for bottles and find one just to call the store to find out it is "reserved" for someone. The thought that there is no hiding bottles or dishonesty in the state store system is the biggest joke I've ever heard. I am friends with several employees and I've even attended some PLCB marketing meetings and I can tell you that the rules are not followed by everyone. Yes, believe it or not, there IS corruption in government. I know this comes as a shock to some, but I am here to say I've witnessed it myself. Now, back to trying to get a bottle of Rittenhouse Rye before the PLCB employees get them all for themselves........



PA isn't totally immune to the special customer syndrome.

I used to buy Lot B. out of PA when it was on the standard list and an online check showed that the Chairman's Selection store in Erie showed three bottles on the shelf. Since I had never encountered online stock issues with PA stores, I headed off on the 90 mile trip to pick up my bounty. When they weren't on the shelf I asked the store manager and he was nice enough to let me know that they were being held for another customer.

Prices in PA are pretty good, especially when they close out items.

I hope this passes as it will be nice to have a privatized liquor neighbor in close proximity.

bad_scientist
02-03-2013, 12:13
Let's talk about the online releases that the state store employees know are coming and hoard the second they go on sale. Let's talk about all the times I (or my friends) have done inventory searches for bottles and find one just to call the store to find out it is "reserved" for someone. The thought that there is no hiding bottles or dishonesty in the state store system is the biggest joke I've ever heard. I am friends with several employees and I've even attended some PLCB marketing meetings and I can tell you that the rules are not followed by everyone. Yes, believe it or not, there IS corruption in government. I know this comes as a shock to some, but I am here to say I've witnessed it myself. Now, back to trying to get a bottle of Rittenhouse Rye before the PLCB employees get them all for themselves........

Monty County, MD reserves bottles not only for "good" customers but also for bars in DC that mark them up 15-20 fold. You've got to crack the inner circle to get the good stuff, same as the rest of the world. It just hurts to see bottles in DC that came from a few miles away, thanks to a handshake deal.

cowdery
02-03-2013, 13:10
I would just hate to see people use their very appropriate skepticism as an excuse to take no action on behalf of advocating the change they want to occur. It doesn't take very much effort to contact your legislators. You don't need to give them a long rationale, just direct them to vote yes. And urge your friends to do the same. You know the vested interests will do their best to retain the status quo. You need to stand up, stand up. Stand up for your rights.

ethangsmith
02-03-2013, 16:28
I've been writing letters already. So if this doesn't happen, don't blame me for inaction or pessimism....

zillah
02-13-2013, 10:26
Not to derail the thread - privatization will work out much better for beer and wine than for liquor - but I am writing all your names down on a list so I know who to shake my fist at when I don't get my allocation of Pappy and BTAC.