Sunday, August 14, 2011

PLCB Spirits Selection Sucks...just like we always said it did

I don't have numbers to support some of the things I thoroughly believe about the PLCB; one of those things is that the spirits selection sucks. Well, the whisky and cognac/armagnac selection in particular. But I didn't know for sure, I was basing it on what I'd seen in privately-owned liquor stores.

Nathan Lutchansky (PLCB Users Group blog) has the numbers, and it turns out we were right. Nathan got the numbers on how many different spirits the PLCB offers in a variety of categories (and actually different; not different sizes or gift packages of the same spirit), and compared it to four well-known destination stores: Astor, Binny's, Party Source, and BevMo. Take a look; it's an eye-opener.

The two most damning? Single malts: the PLCB offers a paltry 37, while the next smallest amount (BevMo) is 132, almost four times as many. The other? You won't believe it, but it's vodka. Add non-flavored and flavored together, and the PLCB offers 179, and we've often said they have too many...but in this group? They come in fourth out of five. They can't even do that right!

Hard numbers prove it: the selection at the PLCB sucks.


Matthew Kayahara said...

I would love to see someone add the LCBO to that list. For all their touted "largest single wine and spirits buyer in the world" status, my gut feeling is that they wouldn't fare too well in such a comparison.

hbgonlooker said...

LCBO has it all over the LCB with the talent they have and the approach they take is far superior than the LCB. But you are left with the issue of government monopoly.

Greg Purdy said...

You are telling us that the PLCb should abolished because Astor has a bigger selection? Who besides esoteric consumers cares/ The PLCB is owned by the people of Pennsylvania. When did you see Astor giving 500M to the state treasury? If some one wants to buy yet another single malt let him get it from Astor. I can still buy one in Snow Shoe, Tyrone, Houtzdale or Mt. Union at a store.

Lew Bryson said...

Who besides esoteric consumers cares[?]
The PLCB is owned by the people of Pennsylvania.
When did you see Astor giving 500M to the state treasury?
I can still buy one [single malt] in Snow Shoe, Tyrone, Houtzdale or Mt. Union at a store.

Classic, Greg, thanks. Let's have a look.
The "esoteric" consumer is forbidden by PA law to buy booze anywhere but PA. They have no legal options other than the PLCB. Plenty of folks down here in the SE corner find that annoying enough that they break that law on a regular basis, which costs the state millions every year. Way to go, PLCB.
If the PLCB is "owned" by the people of Pennsylvania, why do we have no say at all in how it's run? Because we don't: the PLCB has no citizen oversight, they regularly thumb their noses at both the Legislature and the Governor.
The PLCB doesn't "give" $500 million to the state, it remits it because it has to...and private liquor stores would be required to remit the same taxes that make up 3/4 of that $500 million; cut border bleed with privatization and better service and selection, and you may well make that up. The PLCB is having a harder and harder time coming up with the remainder, in case you haven't been following the news.
And your last "point"? A beautiful example of PLCB policy: if we don't have it, you don't need it. God, it's always Snow Shoe and Houtzdale. No one ever brings up that these stores are open part time and run at a loss. You want them to do better? Privatize, and allow beer distributors to sell liquor and wine. Problems solved.

Your overall point, by the way, is a straw man. The pathetic selection is only ONE of a number of reasons (collect them all) why the PLCB State Store System should be abolished. Thanks!