PennLive reports on a new liquor privatization proposal put together by the Pennsylvania Retail Federation, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Business Council “and a group representing some beer distributors.” It’s complicated:
The proposal would tie a license to sell beer, wine and liquor together. License holders would have the choice to sell whichever of the products they want. Any place that sells beer could sell it by the six-pack or case.
Beer distributors would have these choices:
- Pay a fee of up to $10,000 to convert their license into one allowing them to sell beer, wine and spirits. The owners of these new distributors would be able to own multiple stores. Under current law, distributors can only one hold one license.
- Sell out to a retail chain with more than 25 Pennsylvania locations.
The retail chains — grocery stores, big boxes, convince and drug stores — would have to obtain at least one license in each of the 8 classes of counties, including at least one in a county with a population less than 175,000 people. The distributors would sell their licenses at a negotiated price.
Get it? The idea is to apparently let the alcohol business consolidate somewhat while still ensuring that rural counties still have access to booze. PennLive adds: “The coalition estimates the state could bring in around $770 million the first year, most of that coming from selling the state’s wholesale business. In future years, the coalition estimates the state would receive and extra $100 million annually in taxes because,the coalition argues, fewer people would travel out of state to buy wine and liquor. ”