The Case for Liquor Privatization in Pennsylvania

After nearly a century, the Pennsylvania state government may get out of the booze business.

(Page 4 of 4)

He also said that not every winery is interested in large-scale distribution, including in Pennsylvania where they can sell directly from their tasting room. And there’s the simple space factor: A store may just not have room on the shelves, “no matter how outstanding your product is,” Greene said.

Unique to Pennsylvania is the brand of wine that PLCB produces and markets on its own, called TableLeaf. This “doesn’t make much sense,” Greene said.

“The state government itself should not be creating a competitive advantage against its own business,” Greene said.

But, if the Corbett administration succeeds with its pitch to end the nearly century-old status quo on state-run booze sales, Greene said he hopes the change is done “thoughtfully” and with plenty of legislative input.

In Washington state, the liquor control system was privatized by voter referendum last year. Greene said the industry is still digesting the change, and the inner workings of the system are still getting figured out.

In the end, what matters is a fair system, Greene said.

“What we would like to see as the barometer for success is the consumer deciding what they want or what they don’t want,” he said. “Whether it’s a control system or a private system, our members don’t necessary want a leg up. What they want is a fair shot at the market.”

This article originally appeared at

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  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The elephant in the room is the union that represents state liquor store employees... and it goes strangely unmentioned in these 4 pages.

  • geekster||

    This. Because that is the wall that every reform effort runs into.

  • Mike M.||

    Well, you know, putting wine and liquor bottles in brown paper bags and working the cash register are extremely dangerous jobs that require the protection of a government union. Without it, the liquor-selling industry would be a veritable bloodbath.

  • BBB||

    You forgot about the separate union that represent state liquor store *managers*.

    And, of course, it's not wine, but there's also the little matter of the *beer* distributors (case quantities) and bottle shops (12 bottle limit). If wine sales open up, beer sales will get the same expansion, if not immediately, then shortly thereafter. The distributors and bottle shops will fight every attempt to destroy their local monopolies.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's rent-seeking turtles all the way down.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Though I don't think the beer distributors have nearly the political muscle that the unions do.

    And isn't NLRA inapplicable to management? How is there a managers' union?

  • entropy||

    How did the Office of Management and Budget unionize?

    I keep waiting for them to start a Union Managers Union.

    Apparently it's a thing.

  • entropy||

    I like this one:


    The Illinois Department of Transportation is hiring 16 new employees, at salaries of up to $100,000, as a new layer of management after the previous supervisors were allowed to unionize.

  • Staup||

    I don't think they have a separate union.

  • ||

    I dunno, I think it depends on what type of lubricant you use. I use ice water.

  • PositiveEnerG||

    State run liquor stores are insane. And the three tiered system in other states is nearly (not quite, but almost) as insane. I hope when weed is legalized across the country, they don't set up the same kind of Soviet-style distribution system mandated by law. In most states, the wine producer hypothesized by the author here is owned lock-stock-and-barrel by the wholesalers/distributer. If they do a crappy job of selling your wine and don't care about it, you can't even (realistically) go to another wholesaler. Whole system is screwed up and the government monopoly on sales is the worst of it.

  • Sevo||

    ..."If they do a crappy job of selling your wine and don't care about it, you can't even (realistically) go to another wholesaler."...
    Why not?

  • C. Anacreon||

    Speaking of Soviet-style, plus, if you needed a reason to hate Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg......

    Zuckerberg donated $500 Million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Foundation is using the money to push for regionalism, eliminating such pesky things as individual Bay Area towns, who are troublesome because, say, the residents of small suburbs might want different things than people in the Big City, and we can't have that. Changing to regionalism means that property and sales taxes from the former wealthy enclaves can be redistributed to the entire area; as one advocate gleefully pointed out, "this will mean over 75% of people in the Bay Area will get more financial benefits than they put in!"

    And anyway, "we have too many cities and too many counties; why not simplify and reduce counties and the number of cities?"

    Among the wonderful things that regionalism hopes to achieve: eliminating automobile access to suburban downtowns and forcing them to build high-density low-income housing in those areas by 2030. Then we will have an Earthly Paradise for pedestrians and bicyclists!

    And when I pointed this out to a neighbor, even though it is in the newspaper and online, he said that "you are just being paranoid, they will never do this." Yes, of course, because government is our friend.

  • Virginian||

    And when I pointed this out to a neighbor, even though it is in the newspaper and online, he said that "you are just being paranoid, they will never do this." Yes, of course, because government is our friend.

    Ughh tell me about it. Like with gun control.

    "No one's going to take away your guns, it's just assault weapons."

    "Except I own three assault weapons"

    "Well ok, then you need to turn them in"

    "But you just said.."

    "Look, no one is taking reasonable firearms"

    "So people who don't own guns, and don't know anything about guns, get to decide what guns I can have?"


  • Mike M.||

    Zuckerberg is a full-fledged Obama dick-licker. Fuck him and Facebook (which sucks anyway, politics aside).

  • Jerry on the boat||

    ... to create a powerful region, we need to move from nation-states to city-states approach of governance. He further explained that the Bay Area and Silicon Valley already functions as a separate entity, as a city state, but needs to recognize and acknowledge that. Saffo urged the Bay Area governance needs to progress toward that goal. We should not relate to the area as a collection of cities, but as a cohesive region. We may need new models of governance here. "Thinking about the Bay Area as a single region is the way to go," he said, "We should speak as one voice and act on this idea."

    Not enough layers, not enough layers!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    this will mean over 75% of people in the Bay Area will get more financial benefits than they put in!

    And the other 25% can just go fuck themselves.

    The banal god of utilitarianism rears his ugly head, yet again.

    And when I pointed this out to a neighbor, even though it is in the newspaper and online, he said that "you are just being paranoid, they will never do this."

    Shorter version: It could never happen here!

    Which is the battlecry of history's ignoramuses and idiot children. It has happened. See the federal government's housing projects during the so-called "Great Society."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The banal god of utilitarianism rears his ugly head, yet again.

    Don't sully all utilitarians with

    It's possible to have a utility function where taking money away has a higher negative weight than giving money has a positive weight.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Don't sully all utilitarians with

    Oh Tulpa. No matter how rule utilitarians protest, the "rule" half of the equation is as protective as a fig leaf when a greater utility than the rule shows up.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Zuckerberg donated $500 Million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Foundation is using the money to push for regionalism,...

    In other words, they're trying to make the Bay Area citizens republicans.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Waiting for someone to tell me again how Zuckerberg and that Columbian guy who expatted to Singapore are the true innovators America needs. Barf.

    Dudes were at the right place at the right time, and it wasn't even their own original idea. FB, twitter, groupon, all of them are entertainment. Web 1.0 was an incredible boon to productivity and efficiency of commerce; Web 2.0 are a drag on our productivity.

  • Virginian||

    False. If it makes money through honest (i.e. non-coercive) trade, it's productive by definition.

  • Sevo||

    Claims of snobbery are irrelevant.

  • juris imprudent||

    Wrong. Being free to gamble does not make gambling productive. It is entertaining as hell, but it ain't productive.

  • Virginian||

    Well by that logic concerts aren't productive either. Entertainment is a commodity.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Concerts aren't productive. They're luxuries we burn the fruits of our productivity on.

  • Virginian||

    Free trade produces wealth, because each actor benefits from the trade. Thus, free trade is productive.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    each actor benefits from the trade

    Please Mr. Question, pleaaaaaaaaase...

  • 34lbs||

    Anyway... here's my take. Stop looking at things in terms of Material L/S and start looking at them in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.. i'm sure anyone who's taken economics or business will be aware or it. In every rational* and informed* (remember, rational and informed is key, all economies, free and planned, have a disparity of knowledge) trade in a free market, both sides benefit, the consumer of a commodity may benefit by fulfilling his needs, and the producer by increasing his wealth... When people's material AND non-material needs are met, they tend to be more productive, increasing the general wealth of society....

    Before someone calls me out on this, i mention the rational and informed part because this is key to having an understanding of economics, information is provided scarcity-free however resources are ALWAYS scarce, it is important for all actors in an economy to acquire information, with no restrictions. I think free markets are not free unless the actors are informed (i'm not saying this is government's job... we have something called the FUCKING internet..)

  • 34lbs||

    p.s. The countries that have a high degree of exploitation tend to be protectionist and censor-heavy, lacking in communication services for the average person.. look at India and China, and look at most developed countries now the way they were 90 years ago. Key to functioning markets is the free exchange of information.... I convinced my adamantly anti-sweat shop (which i guess is a humble but misinformed concern) teacher that the 2 largest vehicles of exploitation were the government and the restriction of information..

  • Virginian||

    It doesn't matter what a third party thinks of the transaction. It's none of his fucking business.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I haven't seen "productive" defined in a way that would make that so by definition.

    If you're redefining words to suit your agenda, you should go play with the leftists who you'd fit in better with.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    With friends like this, who needs enemas?

  • derpules||

    c'mon really? we all know privitized liquor distribution is a stepping stone to violent crime. Never in the history of our planet has it worked...anywhere! Why do you want to turn this state into a murder factory?

  • waaminn||

    Sounds like these guys know whats going on over there. Wow.

  • Ted S.||

    If the distributor doesn’t like it? It’s an open market.

    So anybody in Maryland can be an alcohol distributor? If not, it's not really an open market.

  • Bee Tagger||

    But Carey said he could "pour the wine down the drain cheaper than I would drive up there."

    I hope he's taken to calling his throat "the drain."

  • Dweebston||

    Next time I'm pouring one down the hatch, I'll go with "flushing it down the drain!" instead.

  • Hollywood||

    OT: LAPD out of fucking control, shoot at another person in case of "mistaken identity"

  • Almanian!||

    Whoops! Our bad! Officer Safety, don't you know! Haha!

    Carry on, Civilian. Uhh...citizen. Whatever.

  • Anonymous Coward||



    1. Gun-toting coward of below-average with qualified immunity.

  • Hollywood||

    It's like the scene from the movie Platoon where they burn the village down and kill a bunch of people.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He's several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.

    "I don't want to use the word buffoonery but it really is unbridled police lawlessness," said Robert Sheahen, Perdue's attorney. "These people need training and they need restraint."

    No they need some high profile prosecutions to show these fucking goons that they're accountable for their actions.

  • Dweebston||

    Um, wait, didn't they find his truck? And wasn't it torched? cba to look it up myself–this shit is depressing even if unpredictable (since no dogs involved, yet).

  • Hollywood||

    I'm confused by that as well. Also, they found camping supplies and guns in the scorched truck. My guess is that he killed himself already, since I don't know why he would leave those behind.

  • Virginian||

    He's leading them on a wild goose chase? Cops are really only equipped to catch idiots. The vast majority of criminals are caught because they told someone about their crime. He left his badge at the marina, and his truck in the mountains. I don't think he's in either place.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    There was another "mistaken identity" shooting of one person, the same day as the one in Torrance with the newspaper delivery women (for a total of three innocent people shot). I think this story is about that other person.

  • Sevo||

    Also OT:
    Feel oh, so virtuous.....................
    and DIE!
    "S.F.'s plastic bag ban may be unhealthy"
    Nope, the prog SF gov't isn't going to let facts get in the way of pol street-cred for POWER!

  • A Serious Man||

    So San Franciscans are too stupid to wash their eco friendly canvass bags and are getting sick? Natural selection I say.Just let be Sevo, let it be.

  • Sevo||

    "So San Franciscans are too stupid to wash their eco friendly canvass bags and are getting sick? Natural selection I say"

    No problem there, but if you wash the thing often enough to make it safe, it's no longer 'eco-friendly'.
    That's the fact that the gov't is ignoring.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why? You can use phosphate-free soap, and you can recycle/reuse greywater.

  • ||

    Yeah, utilizing cruelty-free and farm-raised carboxyl groups.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I think I saw that 97% of shoppers did not wash their bags.

  • Keith U||

    More OT: These are the cheapest places to live in the world right now

    10. Tehran, Iran

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    go ahead, move there.

  • Jerry on the boat||

    8. Panama City, Panama
    A bottle of wine:

    Today: $6.92
    Five years ago: $11.00

    A place where alcohol gets cheaper will be on my shortlist.

  • Ted S.||

    What type of wine? There's a pretty broad price range when it comes to wine.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Speaking of jobs,

    There will always be a place for artisanal craftsmanship. At least, I think so. At this point. Probably. But the steady, middle-class jobs that powered industrial countries through most of the 20th century are disappearing. The center of the workforce is being hollowed out. Most jobs of the future will be either at the high-skilled upper end or the low-skilled lower end.

    Why do so many people accept this assertion uncritically? Aside from their feebleminded fetishization of vast omnipotent organizations, that is?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Machines are good and are getting better, but humans excel at overview and improvisation. Low-skill jobs such as home health-care aides and high-skill jobs such as biomedical engineers are improved by information and tools. And human judgment improves tools and information. As Professors Brynjolfsson and McAfee write, “the key to winning the race is not to compete against machines but to compete with machines.”

    That's what you believe until SkyNet becomes active and the Thinking Machines try to wipe us all out. Then you'll be begging for John Connor and Samuel Butler to travel through time and begin the Butlerian Jihad to save you all.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Not to worry. Thinking Machines went belly up almost twenty years ago.

    Geez... Where did the time go?

  • Dweebston||

    I always got the sense from Herbert's adumbration of the jihad that it looked something like the Great Ventilation and Telephone Riots of SrDt 3454 from Mostly Harmless. So, less time-traveling superhero-shtick and more office dwellers getting flippin' furious over the heat.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Thinking about the Bay Area as a single region is the way to go," he said, "We should speak as one voice and act on this idea."


    Translated version: "Shut the fuck up and do what I say!"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    A department spokesman said Saturday that the shooting is still under investigation. In a statement to The Times, the department said: "The circumstances of the incident known to the responding officers would have led a reasonable officer under normal circumstances — and these were far from normal circumstances — to believe that fellow officers were being shot at and that the vehicle traveling toward them posed a serious risk.

    "In the split seconds available to them," the statement continued, "action was appropriate to intervene and stop the actions of the driver of that vehicle."

    According to the police department, Perdue's car was headed directly for one of their patrol vehicles and appeared not to be yielding. When the vehicles collided, Perdue's air bag went off, blocking the view of the driver, and one officer fired three rounds.

    Totally reasonable behavior.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    "We believe the best interest for Emma is for him to have a role in her life, but not as a parent," she said. "The role is this is mommy's good friend who helped your moms have you because they wanted you so badly."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Great, now we can hear how triple-parent homes are destroying America. Sociocons need to learn that integrity is more than a matter of integers.

  • Virginian||


    "The mistake they made, however, was there should have been a written document spelling out what his rights and responsibilities were going to be."
    According to Filippazzo, the three reached a verbal agreement before Italiano became pregnant. Filipazzo said the agreement meant she would adopt the baby and the two women, a longtime couple, would raise the child together.

    Always, always, always get something in writing. The lowest amount of money I would do business with on a handshake is 50 dollars. Anything more then that, I want some paper.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I wonder to what extent putting something in writing even matters. The courts will argue, with some justification, that the kid is not a party to the contract so it's void.

  • Sevo||

    Ya know, the problem will come from the state definition of marriage.
    If X wants a divorce, does X pay spousal support to Y and Z? Child support?
    What happens if Z then decides to leave; does Z still get spousal support? Does Z then owe child support.

  • ||

    Only if X, Y, or Z has a penis; doubleplus so if that penis inseminated someone.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    an LAPD spokesman said Saturday that Chief Charlie Beck will provide a new truck to the two women injured by officers in pursuit of Dorner.

    Cmdr. Andrew Smith said he and Beck met separately with the two women Saturday. The truck will be purchased using money from donors, Smith said.

    In P Brooks topia, that shiny new pickup truck would be paid for by the money earned by the two former police officers in their new career of stamping out license plates in the prison metal shop.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Could they stamp out the plates for the new truck too?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Awwww. If only Bakersfield PD would follow the example and buy Kelly Thomas a new curb to sit on.

  • The Late P Brooks||


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