Tag Archives: liquor laws

Privatize the PLCB

Sad looking liquor store

Sad looking liquor store, originally uploaded by camera_obscura.

Two weeks ago, Steve Twedt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette authored a series of articles on the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board: what it is, why this state says it needs to hold a monopoly on wine and liquor sales (but not beer sales), alternative reasons why it does this, and how the system affects businesses and individuals. The series starts with this article, and there you can find links to the rest of the coverage.

Pennsylvania’s liquor laws drive me absolutely mad, both because they make it impossible to find wines and liquors I want and because they’re clearly inefficient from a market standpoint.

I’d planned to write a rant about this, but I get so angry even thinking about it that I can’t write straight.

Fortunately, John McIntyre wrote a perfect column on this very subject, "Hitting the Bottle," in the Feb. 7 issue of City Paper.

Last Tuesday, a state Senator introduced a bill to privatize liquor sales. No word yet on the PCLB’s response. I suspect that bill will receive hard opposition.

In the past, state lawmakers have said there’s no reason to change the system because no one complains about it. The letters to the Post-Gazette seem to indicate there’s an unheard majority who want the state to get out of the business of selling wine and liquor. Let’s make our voices heard in Harrisburg.

Beer me … just not so much

Pennsylvania inches its way out of the dark ages. Starting this fall, maybe, we might be allowed to buy fewer than 24 beers at a time at beer distributors:

The state Senate’s Law and Justice Committee approved a bill that would allow beer distributors to sell less than a full case of beer. If it gets final approval — probably not until this fall — distributors could sell one six pack, a 12-pack, a 15-pack or an 18-pack of beer, in addition to 24-can and 30-can cases that are sold now. An 18-pack is a new form of packaging that has become popular in other states, officials said. The bill also would permit bars and taverns to sell three six-packs of beer to a customer for take-out, as well as an 18-pack. Currently, bars and taverns with special beer-selling licenses are permitted to sell only one or two six-packs.

(Thanks to The Burgh Blog for highlighting this important issue.)