July 18, 2014
WANT TO open a bar in Pennsylvania and avoid the standard six-figure price tag for a liquor license? The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, through its extraordinarily lenient interpretation of the state liquor code, lets you do it for as little as $500. All it takes is a one-page application with none of the lengthy red tape and criminal background checks applicants normally face. The discount license is an unforeseen product of a 2012 liquor code amendment crafted by the Legislature to make it easier for licensees to cater one-day private events.
July 29, 2013 |
W INE, LIQUOR, Beer, Champagne is painted in big, red letters at the entrance. Inside the dingy, glass front door of Stop 'n Shop Discount Liquors on the Admiral Wilson Boulevard, a wall is plastered with alcohol ads featuring women in thong bikinis and hot pants. Business is good, said manager Tom Prom, 32. But being open seven days a week until 10 p.m. in a scruffy section of Pennsauken, Camden County, requires precautions. Someone on staff is always armed and security cameras and monitors record just about every square foot inside and outside the store, he said.
January 29, 2013
In at least one respect, Joe Conti, the (sort of) outgoing head of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, is the perfect man for the job: We can't seem to get rid of the LCB, and we can't seem to get rid of Conti, either. Conti is serving his last week as the alcohol monopoly's CEO, but he and the agency have already seen to it that his retirement party will presage a throbbing hangover. Two weeks after he leaves his $156,000-a-year post, The Inquirer reported last week, Conti will be eligible to return as a very costly temp.
January 20, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is resigning his $156,000 post, even as Gov. Corbett prepares to make his most aggressive move yet to privatize the wine and liquor stores it runs. Joe Conti's letter of resignation was submitted Friday, according to a lawyer who is familiar with his decision and spoke on condition of anonymity. The lawyer said the LCB had agreed to let Conti return on a contractual basis temporarily to assist with the transition to a new chief executive.
January 7, 2013 |
GIVING IN-HOUSE brands it never should have created prime selling locations in stores - an unfair edge over competing private brands - is another way that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board abuses its monopoly on wine and liquor sales. Documents obtained by the Trib via a state Right to Know Law request show the LCB's flagship in-house wine brand, TableLeaf, almost always gets the best sales positions on state-store floors and shelves. In 13 of TableLeaf's first 20 months on the market, it enjoyed one of the top five store spots for sales 17 times - more than any other brand.
November 27, 2012
By Jay Ostrich Growing up in Pennsylvania, I enjoyed playing board games over the holidays, and none more than Monopoly. The possibilities were endless, the rules clear, and the objective simple, and it even had cool Keystone State references. But in the end, there could be only one winner, leaving the other players bankrupt and broken. Such are the ends of all monopolies: Just ask Pennsylvania's wine and spirits consumers, who have been playing the game since 1933. Sadly, the state government's alcohol sales monopoly changes the rules as it goes, and it's playing with your money - drinkers and teetotalers alike - while picking wine winners and liquor losers.
June 24, 2012 |
Any senseless body of law requires a corps of lawyers to make a comfortable living off of it. Hence the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's obscure (because they like it that way) cadre of administrative law judges, who occupy their days with the commonwealth's baroque liquor code and those who dare violate it. Well, at least part of their days. As The Inquirer reported last week, investigators from the state Inspector General's Office caught some of the judges spending the equivalent of a couple days out of the office over the course of a dozen workdays.
March 1, 2012 |
I've missed The Sopranos ever since it went off the air. But I've finally found the perfect substitute: the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. I'm not suggesting the LCB is mob-controlled, and I wasn't into the Sopranos because they were mobsters. To me, what made them special was how ridiculous they seemed when they tried to act like normal people. Think Tony Soprano taking time out of touring colleges with his daughter to strangle a rival. Or Christopher Moltisanti trying to sell a harebrained movie script to Ben Kingsley.
December 18, 2011
Dawn M. Meling is the deputy director of public affairs of the Commonwealth Foundation In high school, I threw the javelin in track and field, badly wanting to be recruited by a college athletics program. My father would joke that he never had to worry about high school boys and unwanted attention toward me because I could out-bench press almost every guy in my school. And that was my attitude too - nothing to worry about. So it was rather eye-opening when I got to college, taking part in rape awareness programs, learning that my javelin-throwing skills were no match for a "roofie" or inconspicuous predator.
December 4, 2011
Imagine, if you can, not only the repeal of Prohibition, but also the emergence of a vast network of machines known as "the Internet," which will allow free men and women to purchase and take delivery of their favorite wine and spirits without so much as leaving their homes. You no longer need imagine this science-fictional epoch. It has just dawned on Harrisburg, where the "future-crats" of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board have made it so through sheer vision and will to march headlong into the 1990s!