Jacob Sullum on a State Liquor Monopoly's Self-Contradicting Defenses



Growing up in Pennsylvania, Jacob Sullum became accustomed to a system for distributing alcoholic beverages that struck people from most other states as bizarre. Beer could be purchased only from bars, restaurants, or, if you were willing to buy a case at a time, state-approved distributors. Wine and distilled spirits were available only from drab state-run outlets with inconvenient hours, limited options, indifferent service, and prices higher than those charged by private liquor stores in neighboring states. Sullum was therefore surprised to read Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's explanation of his decision to veto a bill that would have privatized the liquor business in his state. According to Wolf, the current system is better for consumers.