PLCB Auctioning Rare Whiskies by Lottery

Philadelphia magazine's own festival dedicated to brown liquor is invading Lincoln Financial Field this Thursday evening. Over 200 premium spirits will be available for tasting, and some of the city's best restaurants will be offering bites throughout the venue. Thursday, October 29th, 6:30 pm, $95, Lincoln Financial Field.

With St. Patrick’s Day right on the horizon, it feels like we should have some whiskey news today, doesn’t it? I think so. And so we’ve got this: a lottery by the state, involving 258 bottles of rare (and pricey) whiskies.

Interested? Sure you are. It’s the first lottery of the year and they’ve got some good stuff going up for sale. Here are the details:

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PA Distributors Could Get Ability to Sell Beer in Any Quantity

Photo by iStock

Could your local beer distributor be adding a tap system soon? | Photo by iStock

Pennsylvania beer distributors could see the law loosen up in their favor. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed legislation that would allow distributors to sell beer or other malt beverages in any amount, from a single bottle on up. Additionally, the bill would allow distributors to also sell growlers to go.

The bill would ease complaints from Pennsylvania beer distributors who have seen increased competition from grocery markets which not only sell beer but can also sell wine. However, this isn’t a clear win for distributors though, as  they don’t get to sell wine like grocery stores do. But the compromise also upsets others.

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Philly’s First Grocery Store with Wine


port richmond bottle shop wine 400The Richmond Bottle Shop
within the IGA Super Market at 2497 Aramingo Avenue is now selling wine. Thanks to the law change that went into effect in early August, grocery stores can now get in the wine business in Pennsylvania. The governor’s office announced the first 84 stores that will carry wine outside Pennsylvania’s Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores less than a month ago and the Port Richmond supermarket was the only Philadelphia grocery store on the initial list.

Keith Wallace, founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia is curating the wine selection. There are currently 100 selections available and Wallace plans to expand his selections that range from pink moscato to his recommended syrahs.

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Liquor Changes Mean Opportunity for PA Wine, Spirit and Beer Producers

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New law allows brewpubs to sell PA wine and spirits.

Yesterday, Monday, August 8th was the day Pennsylvania received its runner-up prize to actual liquor privatization with Act 39 passing into law. The main point that has been covered so far is that supermarkets can now sell wine. But that’s only a kind of can, as the separate entrance, separate cafe area requirements that were required to sell beer are in place for wine as well.

Another touted win for consumers is the ability to have wine shipped directly to your home from out of state producers. That brings Pennsylvania into compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from a decade ago.

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You May Soon Be Able to Buy Wine in Pa. Grocery Stores

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This may soon be a reality in Pennsylvania. (Photo by Dannielle Blumenthal, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow some grocery stores, restaurants and hotels to sell take-out wine.

House Bill 1690 passed in a 157-31 vote. It permits restaurants, hotels and grocery stores with existing licenses to also sell wine for consumption off the premises. Up to four bottles will be able to be purchased at a time.

“This is a very significant step for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in terms of privatization,” House Speaker Rep. Mike Turzai, a Republican, told reporters after the vote. “I’m very excited, I have to tell you. This is outstanding. It’s a historic opportunity today, and I think the governor’s going to sign it.” Read more »

Pennsylvania Restaurateurs Want Cheaper Booze

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Following what seemed to be a successful hearing before the House Liquor Control Board in Harrisburg regarding wholesale pricing (and a wholesale relationship in general) between Pennsylvania restaurant and bar owners and the distributors who supply the booze, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) has been encouraging members of the hospitality industry to reach out to Pennsylvania senators and representatives.

The near-term hope is that changes to the PLCB system can be made part of the budget negotiations. The bigger wish? That PA restaurant folk can get something more like a fair shake when it comes to buying the hooch and Jesus juice that we all love so much. And you know what? We’re with them on this one.

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Former PLCB Official Charged in Kickback Scheme

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A former official with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has been charged in federal court with accepting gifts to decide which products appeared on state store shelves for a decade. James H. Short Jr, former director of marketing and merchandising for the PLCB, received “all-expense paid golf trips, cash, gift cards, meals, and other benefits” from companies, federal officials say. Read more »

LCB Launching “PA Spirits Program”

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Manatawny, The Pottstown distillery is likely to benefit from the new program.

Good news for Pennsylvania distilleries, several of whom recently saw their products removed from Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Good Spirits shops. In an effort to support Pennsylvania distilleries, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is launching the PA Spirits Program, which grants Limited Distillery license holders in the state the opportunity to place up to 10 products in up to 10 liquor stores of their choosing.

The program will allow local distilleries to target their products at the stores of their choosing. To be eligible to participate, all products must be distilled in Pennsylvania must submit their products no later than May 19th. Once selected, distilleries must sell a minimum of one case per month per store to remain in the program.

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No One Outside Of Pennsylvania Understands The PLCB

plcb_champagneAs a matter of fact, issues surrounding the PLCB (and efforts to curtail, privatize or simply abolish it) can get so weird and so confusing that the folks over at Lucky Peach recently brought in local food writer and man-about-town Drew Lazor to explain some things–including why Pennsylvanians were so excited when we were told that we could finally buy beer in 12-packs, which is something that most other Americans can do whenever and wherever they damn well please.

The Philadelphia Daily News described it as “stunning.” An attorney specializing in liquor law lauded it as “revolutionary.” “This is the biggest thing to happen to beer since 1933,” a Pittsburgh beer distributor told the Associated Press.

What are these Pennsylvanians describing with such exultant glee?

In March 2015, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), the omnipotent governing body for booze in the Keystone State, decreed that beer distributors, for the first time since the repeal of the 18th Amendment, were allowed to sell twelve-packs.

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