Friday, June 20, 2008

New Poll, New Reason at PLCB blog

I've got a new poll up at "Why the PLCB Should Be Abolished," asking you how you feel about the fact -- fact! -- the State Stores have a better selection than the average liquor store in other states. There's also a new Reason why the PLCB should be abolished: their nebulous rules on growlers. A small Reason, but an interesting one.

8 comments:

Bill said...

I'd been thinking about that -- I think part of the problem is the consolidation of spirit distributors. So PA buys 100% of the spirits in PA, but in IL, two distributors handle 95% of the spirits, and there's massive overlap... so it's not like choice automatically improves in "free-market" states.

On a store basis, store owners buy for their audience, so it seems understandable that small-footprint stores have less selection -- they're maximizing sales based on what sells in their area. PA-run stores have less incentive to do that, because the folks that staff the stores don't make more if they sell more. A paradox that benefits the consumer in this case if the consumer is looking for rarer stuff.

Lew Bryson said...

I think it's actually more a function of the second: small footprint stores. It's comparing apples and oranges. PA State Stores are like small-town grocery stores: medium-sized, with neither a small nor a large selection. Stores in other states include a certain number of awesome super-stores, and a much larger number of corner mom-and-pop shops with, as you said, stuff that sells. It's averages, and on the average, the State Stores have a better selection. But we don't have any super-stores...well, except the ones just over the borders!

jakester said...

You know, Lew, when it comes to growlers, maybe it would be better to let sleeping dogs lie. Just the word "reason" mentioned in the same sentence as PLCB makes me shiver. I hope you're not awakening the troll...

Lew Bryson said...

Jake, Jake, Jake...

Are you familiar with the theory behind terrorism? Part of it is that you hope to evoke a massive police reponse from the government that will be so excessive that it will lose the support of an angered populace. So when growlers are outlawed, only outlaws will have growlers, and you can pry my growler out of my desperate, sober fingers.

Or something like that. I know the PLCB is aware of the blog; someone in their Harrisburg office is reading it regularly, and some people have e-mailed it to them. But at this point, the blog is like what Elijah's servant saw: "Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand." With luck, we'll get some media attention, some people will get angry, spread the word of how ridiculous things are, "And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain."

Hey, a man can dream, right?

EastEndBrewing said...

Drink that Growler, or the Terrorists win.

Lew Bryson said...

Give me Gose, or give me Death!

Bill said...

You're right about the store buying patterns being the more important reason... but distributor consolidation does limit choice as well. Taking buying from the state and giving it to private companies won't guarantee better choice as the distributors get larger. I'd venture PA has better beer choice in terms of brands offered than does IL. We have to cross the border to WI or IN to obtain well-known and well-regarded brews, much as you have to drive to other states to obtain certain spirits.

Lew Bryson said...

Always a possibility, Bill, but I'm guessing that the same forces that drive our good beer selection in PA will drive a good spirits and wine selection.