Apr 182011

The PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) has a monopoly on the sale of wine and spirits in the state.

“A monopoly is a grant of special privilege by the State, reserving a certain area of production to one particular individual or group.” – Ludwig von Mises Institute

Consequently, the following line from an article about PLCB’s plans to “modernize” laughably stupid.

“They also want lawmakers to let them create so-called ‘loyalty clubs,’ to offer customers discounts.”

How the hell can customers be loyal when there’s no competition?! Is this a case of Orwellian political newspeak or further evidence that the PA government is dominated by economic ignoramuses?

This nonsense has to stop. Abolish the PLCB!

Jul 092009

Just when I thought PA’s anal retentive control of alcohol sales couldn’t get any lamer, the Liquor Control Board produces this brain fart:

LCB uncorks novel sales plans

This is almost stupid beyond words. (Image horked from P-G article)

This is almost stupid beyond words. (Image horked from P-G article)

“The state Liquor Control Board, which is often the target of public criticism, wants to be more ‘customer friendly.’ On the heels of its largest sales year ever, the agency said yesterday it is moving forward with two new ways to sell wine to the public, through small boutique stores and machine dispensers.”

These goofy-looking kiosks would “vend white and red wines and would be located in supermarkets that don’t currently have LCB ‘one-stop shops’ within them, where both wine and liquor are sold”. Earth to PCLB: kiosks wouldn’t need to fill in for missing one-stop shops if grocery stores were not prohibited from selling alcohol themselves! It gets worse, though.

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Jun 162009

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has some rather intrusive interventionist alcohol laws. Wines and spirits can only be sold in state stores and the distribution of beer is regulated tightly. Tentative efforts taken by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in recent years have sought to expand the range of alcohol retailers in the state. These have included trial exceptions to Sunday sale laws and laws that currently forbid grocery stores and convenience stores from selling alcohol. However, either good intentions have met with entrenched bureaucracy or the PA Supreme Court is playing bad cop to the legislature’s good cop. To wit:

Court OKs beer to-go but Sheetz must also sell on-site

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to shake up the way beer is sold in the commonwealth yesterday, ruling that a Sheetz store in Altoona cannot sell beer to-go unless it’s also served for on-site consumption.┬áThe court took a long drink from the state’s liquor laws and — more than a year after hearing arguments on the case — determined by a 5-1 vote that although the specific language is vague, the writers of the state’s laws on beer distribution did not intend for convenience stores to sell suds.”

I would like to see an end to PA’s bizarre relationship with alcohol sales, but I can respect ruling in its favor for the sake of rule of law. However, I’m not convinced that respect for rule of law guided this decision. What tipped me off:

“The [Sheetz] store began selling take-out six-packs in 2004 after the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board granted it an ‘eating place malt beverage license.’┬áThe Malt Beverage Distributors Association objected, claiming that such licenses are meant for bars and eating establishments that primarily serve beer to in-house patrons — which the Sheetz did not do. The group argued that the store had become a beer distributor free of the state’s regulations that distributors sell only by the case or keg.”

Gee, we wouldn’t want to allow any new competition for the members of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association, would we?

Ain’t lobbying, favoritism, and collusion grand? :-/