July 22, 2016 |
HOW'S THIS for a head-scratcher: Apparently, out-of-state politicians and activists can be trusted to drink responsibly, but your average Philadelphian can't. For years, our state has endured some of the nation's most needlessly restrictive alcohol regulations, yet well-connected visitors to the Democratic National Convention next week will get special exceptions. State legislators in Harrisburg have implemented temporary "national event permits" for the duration of the convention, allowing select Philadelphia venues to sell alcohol later than 2 a.m., provide happy hour specials, and purchase their stock outside of state stores.
June 14, 2016 |
The prospect of being able to buy wine in supermarkets captured much of the public attention last week when Gov. Wolf signed Pennsylvania's most significant liquor reform bill since Prohibition. But for the state's most devoted wine lovers, a much bigger deal is the adoption of direct-to-consumer shipping from winemakers nationwide - putting Pennsylvania in line with 43 other states that give residents access to wine clubs from obscure West Coast wineries. Jeremy Benson, executive director of Free the Grapes!
February 5, 2016 |
When Wawa Inc. won preliminary approval from Concord Township in August to begin selling six-packs of beer in one Delaware County store, beer lovers among the Wawa fanatics around the region rejoiced. Then they waited. Months passed and no beer came. They waited some more. While the wait isn't quite over, Wawa said Wednesday that it had moved an important step closer to stocking brews on its shelves. For months, the convenience-store chain has been at odds with the Concord Board of Supervisors over nearly two dozen restrictions imposed by the township as conditions to sell beer at the store on Naamans Creek Road in Chadds Ford.
October 26, 2015
Charlie Mooney had his white notebook binder with him, complete with a revenue analysis chart. Mooney is not a high-flying CEO, or a bean counter from Wall Street. He is director of retail operations at the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which runs the 604 Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores in the state. State stores have long been despised for limited selection, high prices, and poor service. But Mooney uses such terms as "rebranding" and "consumer-friendly" in describing the state's effort since 2010 to revamp the stores to boost sales and fend off privatization, which continues to be a goal of the GOP-run legislature.
September 28, 2015 |
A 1999 white from Domaine Weinbach, a winery in France's Alsace region. A Kosta Browne pinot noir. A Syrah from the Ojai Vineyard. All nectar for wine connoisseurs. All unavailable for purchase in Pennsylvania. And all, along with 2,444 other high-end bottles, found in the wine cellar of Arthur Goldman, the Main Line lawyer who was accused last year of running a black-market wine-selling operation. (His lawyer contends Goldman was simply sharing wine among friends. The case was settled last year, and Goldman was admitted into an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program.)
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.