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Pa. Liquor Stores to Close Early for Holidays

No wine for you: All liquor stores in Pennsylvania will be shuttered by 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 8 p.m. on New Years’ Eve, by decree of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG – If you want to enjoy a little Christmas wine or New Year’s bubbly in Pennsylvania, you best not wait to buy it.

After 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, all state-owned liquor stores – which means all liquor stores in the Keystone State – will be closed, in accordance with a decision made behind-closed-doors in Harrisburg by the bureaucracy that oversees the roughly 620 liquor stores.

But the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says it’s trying to make it easier for customers who need that last-minute bottle of Cabernet to go with their Christmas ham.

More than 50 state stores normally closed Monday because of low sales volume will be open on Christmas Eve and New Years’ Eve this year, despite both holidays falling on Monday.

“This is a very busy time of year, so we want to be as responsive to consumers as we can,” said Stacy Kriedeman, spokeswoman for the PLCB. “That’s what the scheduling is based on.”

The decision about which stores are open and their hours is not made by the board members of the PLCB. Instead, it is left to the Retail Operations wing of the agency, Kriedeman said.

The Retail Operations section of the PLCB consists of three regions and 26 “districts” charged with overseeing all details of the day-to-day operations of the state liquor stores, including staffing, training, in-store marketing, inventory control, equipment and software upgrades and implementation of best practices to improve business operations, according to the agency’s website.

Opponents of the PLCB’s bureaucratic liquor monopoly say daily operations of businesses should not be ruled by governmental decree.

“Being responsive to consumers shouldn’t be a certain time of year issue; it’s an everyday issue for those truly putting customers and taxpayers first,” said Jay Ostrich, communications director for the Commonwealth Foundation, a free market think tank that favors privatizing the state liquor system.

Utah is the only other state with state-owned liquor system such as Pennsylvania’s.

Gov. Tom Corbett and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, vocally support privatization.

Legislation to do so was introduced last session but never received a full vote in either the state House or the state Senate. Similar legislation is expected to be introduced in early 2013, when the new session begins.

PA Independent asked how the PLCB arrived at its decision to open some stores for longer hours during the holidays. Kriedeman said a right-to-know request should be filed before that information would be made public.

Contact Boehm at Eric@PAIndependent.com and follow @PAIndependent on Twitter.

— Edited by John Trump at jtrump@watchdog.org

Jeff Lugar December 20, 2012 at 06:16 PM
It really is time to end the ridiculous state store system. All we get from it is higher prices, poor selection, and often salespeople who know little about what they're selling (I once was looking for curaçao and had someone tell me triple sec and curaçao were the same thing)
Bob December 20, 2012 at 06:47 PM
In some states you can even buy hard liquor in a gas station
Tom December 20, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I agree. the state store system costs us more and is totally inconvenient.
qdogPa December 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Who cares about state stores when NJ and Delaware are so close by...
Michael Smith December 21, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Think of the PLCB on an enlaged scale and you will realize how retail commerce worked in the old Soviet Union.I understand even Putin's Russia doesn't have state monopoly liquor stores now! Workers of PA Unite, we've nothing to lose but our PLCB chains!
Bob December 21, 2012 at 02:50 AM
PA will be cheaper than NJ once NJ places a 25% hurricane Sandy emergency tax on booze. PA is about to remove the 18% Johnstown flood tax from wine and liquor. It has finally been paid off on 12-21-2012.
DMAN December 21, 2012 at 05:09 AM
PLCB BRINGS IN A LOT OF REVENUE TO STATE COFFERS. LOSE THAT MONEY TAXES GO UP . AND PRICES ARE COMPARABLE TO OTHER STATES
Nicholas December 21, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Actually, the debt was paid off in 1942. They just kept the tax in place to fortify the state's coffers.
qdogPa December 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Prices are not even remotely comparable, and when you consider no tax in Delaware, the difference is significant...
mork December 21, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I've been in the Liquore Business for 50 years and it IS or you can go for expensive Contreau.Fools open their mouths everyday its shame they just don't eat with them.I guess you wanted Blue Curacao for a sissy drink!
mork December 21, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Remember what idiots wish for gets them in the end. New Hampshire State System has some of the lowest prices in the Nation and some of the Better Box Wine Selections for YOU
JohnRz December 21, 2012 at 03:47 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444772804577621673117805522.html
JohnRz December 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM
http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/dec/14/get-tough-on-liquor-sales/ Careful what you wish for.....
M. R. Birkos December 21, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Washington Liquor privatization update Washington voters were seduced by Costco's $20 million TV ad campaign promising lower prices and higher selection. They auctioned their existing stores this past March-April, - only raised $30 million and only received $150 million for wholesale rights, far below the multi billion windfall trumpeted by the privateers. Washington wrecked a system that returned $461 million to their treasury in 2011. PA LCB returned nearly $500 million to our treasury in fiscal 2012, a 5% gain over 2011, compared to average 3% gains seen in the 17 other state-controlled systems. This in addition to $103 million in operating profits and $22 million given to the state police. Washington is collecting as much sales tax as before. BUT - they went from 300 stores to over 1,500, most open until 2:00 AM. They have 5 times the stores - unit sales only increased by 8%. The pie is only so big. All of those extra forks diggin in just came out with a much smaller piece. Meanwhile, retail prices jumped 27-95%, to accommodate new taxes and all attendant business acquisition costs. Selection dropped dramatically in most new locations, with retailers concentrating on the quick-selling jugs. In every LCB store, customers have access to nearly 6,000 stock items and over 32,000 items in special liquor orders. Washington consumers are the big losers in every aspect. http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2019716284_brendanwilliamsopedxml.html
Bob December 21, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Lets privatize it and expand the number of retailers
JohnRz December 21, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Hi Mike! Sent you a message on FB. Expanding the number of licenses isn't working for Washington St. http://seattletimes.com/avantgo/2019871968.html
JohnRz December 21, 2012 at 06:10 PM
The big boxes will control the number of retailers by putting the competition out of business. http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20121216/news/312169985/former-state-run-liquor-stores-fall-into-hard-times
Bob December 26, 2012 at 05:31 PM
does privatizing include the distribution system as well? The PLCB has binding long term contracts with producers both in the USA and foreign.
JohnRz December 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Interesting. Are you sure of that?
Bob December 27, 2012 at 01:52 AM
I just guessing
johnny December 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM
So those against priviatization would like to pay for the pensions of the LCB employees?
JohnRz December 28, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Typical TP response. Suddenly eliminating a large number of people currently paying in to the plan would make it even less solvent. I know that would make you very happy but the PLCB only count for less than one percent of state pensions. Besides, when I buy a car I pay for UAW pensions, In fact whenever I shop I try to buy American and union label so I know my a part of my dollars are going back to the middle class. And yes I support our state police, teachers, and other public service pensions I support through my taxes. Tell me, ab, exactly what it is you have against secure middle class families.
cfuck December 31, 2012 at 08:56 PM
all public section unions in PA MUST GO!

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