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Archive for “State Liquor Stores” news
Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled PA House are either very smart, or very dumb. As they push their liquor privatization bill through Harrisburg, they are either trying to pull a fast one on Pennsylvanians who expect better selection and lower prices (which they know cannot happen with this bill). Or they’re very dumb, and actually believe the bill they’re peddling will accomplish those things.
Tom Corbett is halfway to reaching one of his major campaign promises: privatizing liquor and wine sales. Tonight, the House passed a bill to phase out state stores, and gradually hand over liquor licenses to private sellers, 105-90, after 7 hours of debate.Under the plan, grocery stores could sell wine; beer distributors could sell wine and liquor; and, after the first year of implementation, licenses to sell wine and liquor would be up for sale for other private entities such as big-box stores.The bill now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi has 30-60 days to bring the
Remember those complaints last month that state-owned liquor stores were giving prime shelf space to the PLCB brand of Table Leaf wine? Well, during his testimony in a Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing yesterday, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board member Robert Marcus said that Table Leaf, at one point, became the 17th-most-popular wine brand in the nation: “Our private label program is part of our ongoing program to give consumers more and better low cost choices and to simultaneously increase the money we return to the General Assembly,” Marcus said of Table Leaf. But that still angers privatization advocates, who wish the state would get out
Now before you go all Clubber Lang on me, you should know that I am not one of those Philadelphians who has an inferiority complex about this city. Quite the contrary. I love Philadelphia, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. That said, our neighbor to the north does have (at least) a few things going for it that would make Philadelphia an even better place to be. Here, my wish list.
You know what sounds really unappealing? Liquor and wine produced by the state of Pennsylvania. Maybe that's why the state has been sneaking its "in-house" brands ($8 "Table Leaf" Merlot, anyone?) onto the very best shelves at your neighborhood LCB booze emporium. According to an investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Table Leaf" has been displayed at eye-level, often quite prettily, at the stores' best sales spots for most of the 20 months the product has been available. This news comes on the heels of another Trib investigation that found the LCB had spent close to $500,000 marketing "Table Leaf" and
Almost every one of us has been there, or at least experienced something like it: It's Saturday afternoon and you're standing in the grocery store checkout line, skimming the latest issue of US Weekly, when there's a tap on your shoulder. You turn to see a befuddled out-of-towner with a shopping cart full of snack food and ice and a look on his face like he just lost his puppy.“Um, excuse me, but where do they keep the beer in here?”
It’s the time of year to take stock of what has passed and what is to come. Last year, I wrote a column for the Inky that made five predictions for 2011. Some were on the mark. Others, not so much. Hey, you get what you pay for. It’s time to revisit those calls while making new ones for 2012.Prediction No. 1: I said the Phillies would win the World Series and the Eagles would not make the Super Bowl. I was half right, but am hoping I was just early with my Phils call. Next fall is now or never for the current group of Phillies.As for the Eagles, say goodbye to Andy Reid. He had some great years, but his team was lost most of this season. Jeff Lurie can’t be too happy about shelling out big bucks for top talent only to miss the playoffs. But no matter who coaches the Eagles next year, they will not win the Super Bowl with Michael Vick. Like Randall Cunningham, Vick is a great and entertaining talent but not a money quarterback.
Those grocery-store wine dispensaries are really dead this time
If Pennsylvanians need any more proof it’s time to dismantle the state store system of wine and liquor distribution, that system’s biggest proponent kindly provided it yesterday. Even as he announced that the Liquor Control Board was abandoning its idiotically ill-conceived grocery-store kiosks, board CEO Joe Conti defended the white elephants to the death. What did he think of the kiosk experiment?“It certainly wasn’t a failure,” he said.Um … the facts that the machines never worked properly and that their manufacturer is suing the LCB for $81 million in damages might seem to argue otherwise?“It didn’t end up successful,” Joe argued, “but we learned a lot.”Oh. Gee.
Walmart's the latest to say “no“
It was a mere six months ago that the PLCB announced, with great fanfare, that it would be extending its super-high-tech wine kiosk concept to 24 Walmart stores around the state. Hey, guess what? Walmart’s pulled out of the deal, hot on the heels of Wegmans’ decision in June to kill its kiosks. (The unwieldy machines were plagued by mechanical woes, and consumers didn’t care for their limited choices and the requirement that they tap-dance while whistling Flight of the Bumblebee in order to procure a bottle of red.)
Let's start with customers
Something struck me as I read through this Wall Street Journal story on how the United States Postal Service is going to shut down as many as 3,653 post offices, mostly in small towns, and allow corner markets and gas stations to sell stamps and accept packages for delivery. How convenient, I thought, not to have to make a special trip to the post office, with its bad parking and lengthy lines, just to snag a stamp for a bill that’s due. And as U.S. Postmaster Patrick R. Donahoe said, “Many general stores are hanging on for dear life out there with the recession and a lot of other issues.” How civilized of the USPS to not just think about its own employees, but to concern itself with the positive economic effects of this change on small businesses! And how forward-thinking of the Postal Service to be biting the bullet and confronting the future—when surely even more of us will be sending bill payments and letters electronically—rather than, oh, say, clinging to outdated and bewildering distribution methods, overpaid union jobs and inconvenient hours.So why can’t the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board be more like the post office?