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Monday, May 12, 2008

PLCB Blog: Reason #5

We already discussed how the PLCB has a personality split. One side of the agency wants to sell you booze (gotta make money at the State Store!), the other side wants to control how much you buy and how you drink it. Brilliant idea for a state agency.

But there's another two-sided bedevilment going on at the PLCB. The PLCB always says that they don't make the liquor laws in Pennsylvania, they just enforce them. Yes, that's an extent. Because when they enforce them, they also interpret them. So you'll get interpretations on just what a "case" of beer is, and about how licenses can be apportioned within a county, and ... and what constitutes a State Store, apparently. Because while the PLCB is currently "enforcing" laws that make it illegal to sell beer or liquor at a grocery store, they are also currently considering an "interpretation" that will justify them putting 100 wine vending machines in grocery stores. Really.

Reason #5:

The Liquor Code serves the PLCB, not the citizens of the Commonwealth.


Anonymous said...

Any update on the status of the new case law? Haven't heard much about that since it passed the house a while back...

Anonymous said...

Well, as regards the beer mention in the complete version of this post, every restaurant that I'm aware of in the commonwealth offers on-site consumption of the beer it is entitled to sell. some restaurants also choose to sell six packs and singles to go. The supermarkets and convenience stores that are involved in the current acquisition of liquor licenses here have no intention of serving on premise, and that bothers me (for some weird reason). Any REAL restaurant wants the additional margins offered by on premise sales. These guys just want to change the system that has prohibited their selling beer (and wine) in Pennsylvania for the last 75 years.

Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, and it certainly begins the long process of change that you are looking for with the PLCB. I guess my problem is the subterfuge that Sheetz and Wegmans have used to accomplish their mission. We were all led to believe that the intended purpose of the license acquisition was to provide their restaurant patrons a beer with their sandwich, when in fact no such thing was ever intended.

By the way, I'm beginning to coma around on this issue!

Anonymous said...

Coma around? Freudian slip?

Lew Bryson said...

No, I think you're just boring yourself, Sam!

There are restaurants and there are restaurants: I know places that serve food, and sell beer, but I've never seen anyone drinking there. Besides...are you saying that Sheetz isn't a "REAL" restaurant? They make food there. They serve food there. People eat it there. And they don't want "the additional margins offered by on premise sales."

Look at it this way. There is no provision in the PA State Liquor Code for six-pack stores, bottleshops. Yet they exist, because people saw a niche for buying a license and only using it for off-premise sales. I salute those people for figuring out 1)a way to make a living within the Code that the makers of the Code did not foresee (because I'm sure if they had, they'd have forbidden it); and 2)a way to give us what we want: a bottle shop.

You're upset with Sheetz and Wegman's for giving you takeout beer in a convenience store and a grocery because you didn't get a sammich with it? Man, Sam, you want everything!

Anonymous said...

Naw, I just like folks to tell the truth: "We want to sell six packs!" What's wrong with that? Sheetz and Wegmans sure are restaurants, no doubt about it. In fact they're better than some true restaurants. Just come in the front door, not the servants entrance.

Feeling bored now....