Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) Looks to Expand Sales

April 14, 2011

The local news has been talking about the Pennsylvania State Liquor Control Board (PLCB) and its efforts to expand the sale of liquor and wine in the state. There has also been significant talk about Governor Corbett’s ideas about privatizing the state liquor stores system. One can’t help but wonder if the PLCB is trying to find ways to modernize the state’s liquor sales system to avoid losing its control over those sales to the private sector.

A few recent articles have mentioned that the state run stores will expand Sunday hours to additional stores and increase the Sunday hours past 5 p.m. Another, more modern approach is to allow consumers inside of Pennsylvania to be able to have wine purchased outside of the state to be shipped directly to their homes. Currently, the state requires that wine shipped into the state must be sent to a state store, where it can then be picked up by the consumer.

An additional effort by the PLCB to expand its operations and provide convenience has been to allow wine kiosks in grocery stores and other retail stores. These kiosks have generated much debate about just how "convenient" it can be to swipe an identification card, stare into a camera so a person at a remote location can confirm the identification of the purchaser and blow into a device to ensure the purchaser is not currently under the influence of alcohol. If the purchaser has a B.A.C. of .02 or more, the sale will not be permitted. 

Those who favor the Governor’s ideas of privatizing the state’s liquor sales see the revenue generated from the sales of the licenses as a huge source of funds in a tough economy. Those in favor of keeping the liquor sales within the state’s control point to the annual revenue those sales generate and the dangers of private sales. No matter what happens, it appears that Pennsylvania’s antiquated approach to liquor sales is going to get some new ideas and consumers will have additional options for purchasing wine and liquor in the near future.