Fallen Stars

wine fireworks     After the latest attempt to get Pennsylvania out of the business of selling wine and liquor failed, I realized that I would miss the Chairman’s Selection program that offers some very good wines at a deep discount.  The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (P.L.C.B.) is the second largest purchaser of alcohol in the world so it has tremendous buying power.  The buyers at the P.L.C.B. do a great job sorting through the wine market to come up with plenty of interesting wines that would have gone unnoticed and bring them here at attractive prices.  If you live in or visit Pennsylvania often you probably have gotten accustom to the antiquated laws regulating alcohol sales within the state but if you are new to the state here is a quick primer.  Bottles of wine and spirits must be purchased from a P.L.C.B. store, no wait you can also buy wine produced in Pa. from the winery or a business associated with them.  Only full cases of beer and malt beverages can be purchased from a beer distributor and you must buy six packs from a bar or six-pack store. Now that everything is crystal clear I hate to tell you that is only the tip of the regulatory iceberg.  There are deals to be had in P.L.C.B. stores and I recommend visiting a “Premium Collection Store” for the best selection.  The P.L.C.B. website and smart phone app makes it easier to navigate the state store system in Pennsylvania.  I have listed the website and where to get their mobile app.  I recommend taking a look at the Chairman’s Selection section whether you are in the store or online for the best deals available. Happy Hunting!  www.finewineandgoodspirits.com  For free mobile apps  go to ITunes or The Google Play Store.

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About wpawinepirate

Wine lover from Western Pennsylvania that wants to tell everyone how far the winemakers here have come and what they are doing now. Contact me at wpawinepirate@gmail.com
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8 Responses to Fallen Stars

  1. Antiquated laws, confusing PA laws, but thanks for shedding a bit of light here; it’s needed.

  2. You no doubt know how I feel about the PLCB—I think it is an abomination. Yes, there is an occasional “good deal” through the Chairman’s Selection program, but since Jonathan Newman left most of those wines are either off vintages or fire sale wines.

    My main problem with the PLCB? If they have such great buying power, why are wines that are not Chairman’s Selections 10-20% more than they are in neighboring states?

    • I know that the P.L.C.B. wasn’t invited to your Christmas party again this year:-) I have mixed feelings about the P.L.C.B. stores being closed. I hate to see anyone lose their job. I am a fan of the show “Shark Tank” and Kevin O’Leary said that 97% of the bottles of wine purchased in this country are $9.99 or less. I was shocked and it made me rethink the “State Store” debate. Maybe the system is set-up to serve the majority of the wine buyers and works well for them. Next time your in a P.L.C.B. store look in the carts of your fellow shopper and tell me what you see. Granted a “Blue Light Special” in aisle 3 would move a lot of product but at what cost to everyone else. Maybe the answer is to relax the law governing wine shipped to Pa.

      • I have heard that New Hampshire does a much better job with state control. Better selection, really good pricing. As for people losing their jobs, well if the system went private, the new stores would need employees, you know. Right now there is very little incentive for the PLCB employees to be knowledgeable about wine or provide decent customer service. There are exceptions but by and large the shopping experience is abhorent at the PLCB.

      • We are on the same page when it comes to the P.L.C.B. but at the end of the day we still live in Pennsylvania so I am afraid that this discussion will end like all the others in a moot point.

  3. Sounds like you are pro selling the state stores. One thing you risk, what you get might be worse. There is no guarentee it will be what you want.

    • Angelo, I am not sure what I want to happen with the LCB stores. I know people want the convenience of buying wine at Walmart but that probably isn’t a sound reason to dismantle the system and lose all those good paying jobs. I would say that I am undecided and willing to hear arguments on both sides with an open mind. What’s the rush now we have had them for a long time and they are still making money.

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