Virginia State Legislator: "We found out that having a monopoly is really cool."

"Why do we want to give up a monopoly?"



As a resident of Virginia I have to put with buying liquor from government-owned Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores. ABC stores were set up after the end of Prohibition. I will admit that the selection has much improved in recent years (more single malts scotches are on offer), but the Commonwealth's ABC stores do not provide nearly the variety that one finds in private liquor stores in the District of Columbia. DC prices are lower too. Four years ago, Governor Bob McDonnell (R) tried to sell of the stores and privatize liquor sales, but the General Assembly blocked the effort.

The headline quotation is from Virginia Delegate David Albo (R-Fairfax), who also asked, "Why do we want to give up a monopoly?" As the Daily Progress reports, Albo is pushing legislation that would transform the ABC from a state "agency" into a state "authority." ABC would still be a monopoly, but it would allegedly be run more like a business. Here's an idea; why not end the monopoly and let actual businessses run like businesses?

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  1. So has anybody ever challenged these state monopolies on interstate commerce grounds? I mean, if growing your own wheat, in your own field, for your own consumption is interstate commerce, aren’t these laws interfering with interstate commerce?

    1. Yeah, but in that case the federal government would have to step in to outlaw such things.

      The only time the feds step in to stop state government is when doing so enhances the federal government’s power. Why would they step in and eliminate state monopolies unless the feds were trying to get a monopoly of their own?

    2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

      The 21st trumped the Commerce Clause for Alcohol. Va’s laws say only ABC can sell alcohol there, therefore, the 21st says it’s ABC’s game in Va.

      1. Well, fuck. But, per Obamacare, I thought the ICC overruled the entire Constitution.

        1. No, that’s the FYTW clause, which only applies to Citizens, not fellow governments.

        2. I thought the ICC was the entire Constitution?

    3. PA got slapped on the commerce clause when it tried to allow direct wine shipping from in-state wineries but not out-of-state wineries. The Supremes said the LCB couldn’t discriminate.

      So what did the LCB do? Guess:

      a. Allow all wineries to direct ship in a pro-consumer win.
      b. Allow no wineries to direct ship because screw you.

  2. The one and only reason I voted for Mcdonnell. If I was on his grand jury I would have voted guilty on sheer principle.

    1. That’s what I was thinking…revenue,revenue,revenue.
      Be happy you don’t have to contend with a dry county. We went to Arkansas on vacation and thought we would grab a bottle of wine before we checked into our cabin. We thought wrong. I felt like a college student, we drove an hour out of our way for a bottle of wine.

      1. Damn, an hour out of the way practically takes you out of Arkansas.

    2. Idle Hands,

      Delegate Albo seems to be decent on privacy matters – he voted for HB 1308 and HB 1408.

      “HB 1308: Right to privacy in electronic communications; confidential relationship; penalty; civil action.”

      “HB 1408: Warrant requirement for certain telecommunications records; prohibition on collection by law enforcement.”

      Did you vote for Robert Sarvis either times he ran?

      1. last year.

      2. CE: Both times – even after Ann Coulter threatened to drown libertarians who wouldn’t vote Republican.

        1. Didn’t someone post directions to his own house so she could easily find him?

  3. Albo is pushing legislation that would transform the ABC from a state “agency” into a state “authority.”

    How does it get any more authoritative than this?

  4. If DC is doing something better than you, it’s time to take a good look in the mirror.

    1. But I don’t really know if they are. Their “private liquor stores” are also the only place you can buy beer or wine, while in Virginia you can go into any convenience store or gas station. They are also tightly regulated the same way taxi medallions are and are routinely “sold”, as there is a strict limit to how many may be issued at a given time.

      Both systems are complete garbage, just for different reasons.

      1. I think the fact that in NY I’m not being served at the liquor store by a combination cop slash DMV customer service rep is objectively better – all other things considered.

  5. Here’s an idea; why not end the monopoly and let actual businessses run like businesses?

    Because alcohol bad!

  6. So that’s what it takes to be a Virgina Republican, eh?

  7. Strict control on alcohol distribution and consumption is only aiding and abetting the ISLAMONAZI THREAT.

    1. Indeed. Is it a coincidence that sharia and booze fascism are practically identical.?

      1. If you enjoy what I hate, you must be destroyed, or at least held on a tight leash. This mindset is behind most pathologies. I don’t understand it on a fundamental level, but I knows it when I sees it.

        1. Not only is SF the world’s scariest writer of horror erotica, but he also has insights to human nature that are noteworthy. Perhaps the two er, skills, are intertwined.

  8. i’m not too familiar with the issue, but i was able to buy a bottle direct from the distiller a few weeks ago — catoctin creek.

    maybe we just need to exploit that loophole.

    1. Umm, people have been buying ‘shine directly from hillbillies since forever, dude.

      1. then we need more hillbillies.

    2. NVAH: I bought some some very indifferent booze from Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville a while back. However, the owners told me that they were not allowed to let visitors taste the booze; we could only sniff it.

  9. Dear God! If only some libertarian somewhere had warned us that government itself was a monopoly, we could have figured this out sooner!

    1. We were too busy capitulating to The Islamic Threat.

      1. Ginny found the solution: Virginia Postrel ?@vpostrel 2m2 minutes ago
        I quit my job to set up a post-apocalyptic commune: There’s nothing like utopia to make you appreciate civilization.

    2. They were spending their time polling millennials about a libertarian moment, I think.

  10. As a resident of Virginia I have to put with buying liquor from government-owned Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores.

    why don’t you just order online? Worst case scenario, order from a foreign distributor.

  11. Bailey’s assessment of the DC model beng superior is a little out of whack.

    Those “private liquor stores” in the district are also the only places one can buy beer or wine and the number of them is strictly controlled by local government officials.

    It’s not better than Virginia, where you can buy beer at any 7-11. It’s equally as bad in different ways.

    1. siT: DC is certainly not perfect, but the selection is better and the prices are lower.

      1. Virginia gets to take the markup and the taxes. It’s basically robbery.

        1. at the same time Va get’s the beer and wine racket right just wish they treated liqueur in the same way.

    2. The Arizona model is the best. You can buy Whiskey at the 7-11.

      1. With a gun either proudly exposed to the world, or tucked away like your secret shame, no license required.

      2. That is the dream.

      3. You know, for as great a state as Arizona is, all people outside the state know us for is Even Mecham and idiotic immigration policies.

        1. Mecham was eclipsed long ago by Joe Arpaio.

  12. “Here’s an idea; why not end the monopoly and let actual businessses run like businesses?”

    The problem with letting businesses run like businesses is that businesses make a profit, and we can’t have that.

    It’s different when a government agency makes a profit–because their intentions are pure and good. When the government makes a profit, the proceeds go to helping inner city handicapped children learn and grow.

    When businesses make a profit, God only knows what they do with the proceeds. For all we know, they’re taking expensive vacations or buying sports cars!

    Incidentally, this is why gambling is illegal in so many states, too–even in states where they have a state lottery. State lotteries are okay because the proceeds all go to teaching wounded unicorns how to smile again.

  13. “Why do we want to give up a monopoly?”

    How about, because it’s the government’s job to create a level playing field for it’s citizens, not to play tyrant and forbid anyone but itself from competing.


    This is like King George saying “Why would I want to stop being king?”

  14. *knocks on thread’s door, enters*

    Hai, guize. Pennsylvania here. Just thought I’d drop by. Whatcha talkin’ ’bout?

  15. Have I mentioned that 35 yrs. ago, my friends who lived in the Tenn. part of Bristol used to shop for liquor in the Va. part, apparently because ABC gave better value for the money then than the private liquor stores nearby in Tenn. Same was true of Vermonters going to the state stores in NH.

  16. I live in VA and would have had no problem with the ABC stores going away and making the sale of liquor private but the plan they had would have not made up for the profits we make and our taxes would have been increased. A better plan may have worked. Maybe next time.

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