HARRISBURG — The effort to change Pennsylvania’s state liquor monopoly is on a familiar path filled with many obstacles.
The state House voted Thursday to approve turning the wine and liquor retail and wholesale business over to the private sector, but the proposal faces a rough road in the Senate, which failed to take action on a similar proposal in the last session. And Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf favors improving the service in the existing stores to generate more money for the state rather than licensing them to the private sector.
Thursday’s House vote was 114-87 for the proposal, with every Democrat and a few Republicans opposed.
Legislation to end Pennsylvania’s 82-year monopoly on liquor sales is due for a vote Thursday in the state House.
The plan would dramatically change the way alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 466, sponsored by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, is similar to a proposal that cleared the House in 2013. It would close the 600-plus state stores and replace them with 1,200 private licenses.
“In a year when we are faced with a potential $2 billion budget deficit, I personally think it is important to consider avenues for revenue other than taxes,” Turzai said in a memo to colleagues seeking support.
It was estimated last session that the proposal would generate about $1 billion up front, with continued revenue from existing liquor and sale taxes.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Adam Flatt’s mother, Elaine Pivinski, opened the Lehigh Valley’s first winery in 1981.
Flatt is now on target to open the region’s first distillery next month.
Flatt, who co-owns Franklin Hill Vineyards in Lower Mount Bethel Township with his mother, is just weeks away from opening Social Still distillery in Bethlehem.
“It’s cool we have that pioneering tradition continuing,” he said.
Social Still is on target to have a soft opening the first week of December, Flatt said last week during a tour of the new operation. Work on the building is about 80 percent complete and the company is planning its first batch of vodka and gin later this week, Flatt said.
POTTSTOWN — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board denied the Montgomery Elks Lodge’s liquor license renewal on Wednesday.
While the renewal process was halted and hearings were held in June and July, the Montgomery Elks was able to operate under its license that expired officially in the spring.
As of midnight Friday, the Montgomery Elks, located on the 600 block of Walnut Street, may no longer serve alcohol, according to a letter from the Liquor Control Board obtained by The Mercury from a source.
Locator map with the Shadyside neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pennsylvania’s largest wine and spirits store, a 17,000-square-foot mega-outlet, will officially debut today in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood.
The renovated store, built around an existing state store at 5956 Penn Circle South, has been enlarged by about 35 percent, LCB officials said.
The larger, more upscale store is opening in an area experiencing residential, retail and restaurant growth for several years.
With that upswing continuing, LCB officials have pinned their hopes on history repeating itself with the renovated space. The agency has seen sales typically increase about 20 percent to 35 percent at revamped stores, in part because the layout and organization of products encourages shoppers to browse longer, according to officials.
English: Interior of a Super Sheetz in Altoona, PA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The private businesses that would get the chance to sell beer, wine and liquor under Gov. Tom Corbett‘s proposed overhaul of the state liquor control system had mixed reactions to the proposal.
Eric White, spokesman for the Berks-based Redner’s Warehouse Markets, which also runs the Redner’s Quick Shoppes convenience stores, said the chain almost certainly would have to get into the beer business just to stay competitive with its rivals.
Lou Sheetz, executive vice president of the family-owned Sheetz chain based in Altoona, said the company loves the idea, is excited about it and believes consumers will be, too.
“We have been proponents of adult beverage sales reform in this state for a long time,” he said.
Looks like a bad economy is great for the booze biz. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced that last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2011, ended with record-breaking profits. Nearly two BILLION dollars worth of alcohol was sold at Pennsylvania’s state-run Wine and Spirits stores.
It was further reported that the state-store system made a profit of $496 million, which was dumped into Pennsylvania’s coffers. The PLCB is trying to run the state liquor stores more like a business. WOW, what an outside of the box concept!
All is not peachy on the automated wine kiosk front. The PLCB has placed wine vending machines around the state, in various locations. This was done to help sell more wine and to offer customers a more convenient place, besides the dreaded Wine & Spirits store, to purchase their vino.
Wegmans asked the PLCB to remove all 10 kiosks from their stores in the next 30 days citing too many customer complaints and malfunctioning equipment. Wegmans said in some cases the problems were harmful to their business. The kiosk pilot program started about one year ago.
But have no fear…it looks like Wally World is lining up to stick some wine machines in their stores as soon as this summer. Can you imagine the Walmart photos these will generate?? I cringe in anticipation!