As part of his campaign, new PA governor Tom Corbett promised to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania, but we’ve seen little action on this issue so far. It appears, however that this is about to change. Last week, the movement gained a key ally when Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) announced his support for the bill (House Bill 11) originally proposed by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, which proposes to close 625 state liquor stores and sell 1200 licenses to the highest bidder. In addition, according to the PA Independent, Corbett has just recently received a report from a Philly-based business research firm detailing the potential revenue gains from selling off the state stores (this report has yet to be made public). Lastly, the Pennsylvania think tank Commonwealth Foundation has recently launched http://freemydrink.com/ to bring more exposure to the issue.
The debate is far from over, of course. Over the summer, Senate President Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, spoke out against the bill, showing support instead for removing “handcuffs” to allow PLCB to operate more like a private business. Other state senators, including John Blake, D-Lackawanna, also remain skeptical.
So, from that standpoint, I must say that I’m quite looking forward to checking out the swank (for PLCB standards, at least) new Paoli digs, which are planned for the ACME shopping center, in the space where Blockbuster used to be. The store, which will dwarf the current cubicle that hides behind BK, will feature more than 3000 additional products. It will also have a 8-seat bar for tastings, a plethora of Chairman’s Selections (including high-end choices), a temperature-controlled room, and even a wine chiller that’ll cool any shelved bottle of wine in less than 15 minutes. And – gasp – it’ll be open on Sundays!
When will this store open? Well, that’s just the thing. Apparently it was planned for July, but is held up in Harrisburg. Shocking.