In fact, even their peers in other control states say they aren't doing anything special or innovative. In December StateWays Magazine* gave out their first ever "Control States Best Practices Awards" and the winner of the "Best of the Best" was not the PLCB, It was the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The winner for "Best Technological Innovation" wasn't Pennsylvania either even after the millions spent in cost overruns; it went to New Hampshire and Iowa. Iowa won for their web portal ordering system, which is sorta like the one that the PLCB is working on rolling out, only theirs is in place and working. Kind of like the way SEPTA keeps promising a farecard system (like the ones other transit systems have had for decades); maybe it's a Pennsylvania problem.
The PLCB pretty much got smoked. They didn't win "Best Retail Innovation," that was Idaho who didn't spend over $4 million to come up with "TableLeaf" like PA did; or "Best Enforcement Program," which went to little Montgomery County, Maryland. Probably never having your state stores checked for underage compliance by the police had something to do with that one. The PLCB did tie for "Best Responsible Consumption Program" with North Carolina, but hasn't achieved the results that NC has so far. That could be because North Carolina spends a lot less on advertising and more on education than PA for their size.
|Want the best wines? Better figure on taking a trip.|
- Don't have the top 2 Malbecs
- Don't have the top 2 Sauvignon Blancs
- Do have the #1 Rose, but only SLO (minimum quantity 12) and priced 7% higher than the magazine lists.
- Do have the #2 Rose...in five of the 603 stores at only 9% higher than the magazine lists.
- Don't have the top 2 American Cabernet Sauvignons
- Does have the #1 Merlot, but as SLO only (minimum quantity 12) at 71% higher ($50 ea) than the magazine price.
- Doesn't have the #2 Merlot
Of course, the free market doesn't think PA is up to snuff either. The The American Wine Consumer Coalition ratings show PA ranked 47th with an "F" grade for Consumer Access To Wine, joining the large group of control states at the bottom of the ranking. All our border states rate higher, though, including the two bordering control states, Ohio and West Virginia. Who would have thought getting wine is easier in West Virginia?
Simply, we deserve better, and to be clear: better is not more PLCB, or a different flavor of PLCB, or a "modernized" PLCB. Better is NO PLCB. Tell your legislators: full privatization, no half-measures.
*StateWays is written for commissioners, board members, headquarters personnel, and retail store managers responsible for buying beverage alcohol in the control states, according to themselves.