Monday, February 1, 2016

World Class? The PLCB doesn't even carry the top selling liquor in the world.

Edit: It turns out that the PLCB does carry one brand under the ByeJoe brand name as an SLO (qty 6) and it is listed as "DISTILLED SPIRITS - OTHER (IMPORT)" rather than Baijiu which is the same as listing Jim Beam as Corn Whiskey and not Bourbon. The point of the blog remains true.
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When you are the arbiter of everything liquor you have to be extraordinarily aggressive at supplying the wants and desires of ALL the population. If you're the only source, after all, they have no other recourse, so you need to go out there and get the products the public wants and not what you feel like supplying!

Or you can just be extraordinarily passive and only do the minimum because you don't have to put forth the extra effort. You don't want to keep track of all those things because you have a hard enough time with what you do carry.

We live under the latter here in PA. Case in point. The PLCB doesn't carry the largest-selling liquor in the world.  Nowhere in the entire state: not on the shelf, not SLO, not on the crappy website. If you visit other states, does every private liquor store carry it? Certainly not, but then, they don't have to fill the wants of an entire state, either. Do other states carry this item that the PLCB has deemed not worthy to offer the citizens? You better believe it. I found it in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the South, and the West without too much trouble; in private stores, I might add. The control states like Pennsylvania fared pretty poorly.

You may be wondering how the PLCB can claim to be "world class" in their selection (which they claim often) when they don't have the wold's biggest-selling category of spirits. Simple: they aren't, since there are hundreds of stores in the country that carry more products on the shelf than any state store. The PLCB fudges their numbers claim by counting items you can order from private distributors....just like anyone in the real world of retail can do too. The fact is that the PLCB's on-the-shelf selection is beaten soundly by many stores all over America including many in other control states.

Have you figured it out yet? You may have: the mystery product is Baijiu, the largest-selling liquor in the world not only by volume, but value too. It's acknowledged as the national drink of China. There are seven times as many ethnic Chinese in Pennsylvania as there are ethnic Japanese, but you'd never know that looking at the shelves of the state stores. Perhaps Chinese restaurants, of which there seem to be quite a few around, might want to serve traditional liquor with their meals...just not in Pennsylvania where they have no selection, no choice, no freedom, and no voice in changing things.

Sorry, you'll have to go to Jersey. Again.
Lack of selection and market knowledge is one of the many prices that Pennsylvanians pay for by keeping the PLCB. Another is agility or the ability to spot trends and market forces and react to them. When you are a government agency more interested in how many more years you have to hang on until retirement, keeping up with or leading your competition doesn't enter the picture. You have no competition and don't care if you keep up with the private sector, because your citizen prisoners can only buy what you decide to let them buy anyway.

You'll get what we allow you to get when and if we allow you to get it.
The time has come to rid ourselves of this third-world class mistake and let the free market satisfy the wants and needs of the consumer, like they do for almost everything else you buy.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really albert you are reaching again you pull out some outta the blue item zero people want should they carry every item because 1 person might buy it? In a previous post one of us talked to the vendor herself and explained exactly how this stuff works yet you still don't believe while they have their faults this is a very very weak argument against the plcb .

Lew Bryson said...

You do know that punctuation is free, right? No cost?

Baiju is not some "outta the blue item." Try reading this:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wine-baiju-idUSKBN0EE1AV20140603

"Baijiu “represents respect. It represents tradition. It represents wealth, ” explained Yuan Liu, a top executive at U.S. baijiu importer CNS Four Seasons Trading. He, and Manny Burnichon of Private Cask Imports, have embarked on expanding the U.S. market for the clear spirit drink beyond the nation’s Chinatowns."

And as usual, when the PLCB doesn't carry "some outta the blue item zero people want," private stores do:
http://www.binnys.com/spirits/baiju

See, drone, the problem is that the PLCB is the ONLY legal provider in the state, and citizens aren't even allowed to go OUT of state to buy what they want. So yeah, they really are obligated to carry every item because 1 person might buy it.

You don't want baiju; I don't want it. That's not the point. I don't want flavored vodka, yet the state sells a LOT of it, because other people do. When they're the only legal supplier, there's an expectation of service. The PLCB fails miserably...as usual.

Anonymous said...

It truly is ridiculous that the PLCB would call itself "world class". I'm not even talking about their selection, service, prices, etc but a lot of their stores themselves are in awful condition. Dirty, disgusting, dingy, in disrepair, oh and did I mention disorganized?

Anonymous said...

I would like to purchase this product - baiju - what does it taste like and can I get it in Delaware. I do not like shopping in the pa. state stores, a lot of products were out and no one to help find the product. so when are they going to get rid of this system.

Albert Brooks said...

A few questions for you. What vendor would you talk to about this? How do you know that zero people want it since it is the largest selling liquor in the world? What facts do you base that opinion on? Do you want to try circular logic? Nobody wants it because the PLCB doesn't have it therefore the PLCB doesn't have it because nobody wants it? What else you got?

The PLCB doesn't know what people want, they allow the people to buy what they are told they can buy. In retail the customer is always right. In the PLCB they never are. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

The LCB carries it. There are several alternative spellings. Try Byejoe. Basically it's a sorghum based vodka like drink. In spite of the poetic drivel over elagence and tradition, some Baijiu costs less than a can of beer for a half pint. The "half pint of Nik" of the orient drives the "worlds largest selling liquor" claim. Recently flavored versions have been made following the trend that is civilizing Vodka and Bourbon in the west. The LCB even carries a couple of these. Is Baijiu Cantonese for Pinnacle per chance? If so I see it trending upward and sold as a stock item soon. The turpentine tasting crap will go the way of Whiskey in a few generations.

Albert Brooks said...

Byejoe is a brand name for a Houston Texas importer and not an alternate spelling. So while I will eat crow saying that the PLCB doesn't carry it at all I claim some redemption in that they don't list it by the proper name which is Biajiu. In the 7 years time I spent in Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan I haven't seen the anglicized spelling for it spelled differently although that is by no means definitive. I can't comment on the Cantonese but I can say that there were flavored versions in the early 70's and probably for a thousands of years before that so your idea of "recently" and mine don't match up.

I'm not in agreement that flavors are "civilizing" vodka either. It is just a lazy way to make a drink without having to have the proper ingredients. Well made vodka is just about as civil as it needs to be. Some of the ones I had in Russia were exquisite and others you could use to run your car....just like here.

Just which way is whiskey going in your opinion?

Albert Brooks said...

To Anonymous asking what it tastes like - that would depend on a number of factors since there are multiple types of Biajiu, Sorta like asking what does whiskey taste like. If I had to make a general statement I would say "earthy" for lack of a better term.

I'm sure Google works where you live and you can find out if it is for sale at or near the local where you want to shop.

Anonymous said...

Why is there not opposition to the PA beer distributors the way there is opposition to the state stores? The beer distributors are even worse. I especially hate that they all have a warehouse vibe or worse, an auto repair shop vibe.

Lew Bryson said...

The distributors have that "vibe" because of the case law. It's hard to do things any other way when what you're selling is heavy boxes. There's more opposition to the case law than there is to the beer distributors; most folks understand that they sell that way because of the stupid laws.

Anonymous said...

It is funny that many of your posts are about selection in that you cannot always get certain items at the State Store near you and you may have to go across state lines. I am reminded of an article on Washington state after privatization where customers went from having wide selection at their local State Store to only being able to get that selection at a big box liquor store and that store was more than 50 miles away. Someone commented "the selection has increased because the big box store carries more items. You can't expect to have a Jaguar dealership in every town." So is true for any of the items you complain about. You can't expect every state to have a Jaguar dealership, so maybe you just need to drive to one that does.

Lew Bryson said...

It is funny that many of your posts sound like "Anonymous" is the same person.

The article you're talking about must have been from the early days of Washington privatization, as there are now MANY more stores in the state than before. And speaking to friends from Washington State, none of them describe the selection at their state stores as "wide." The usual term is "adequate."

As for the Jaguar dealership? There are at least TEN Jaguar dealers in Pennsylvania...but no equivalent liquor stores. Why should we have to go to another state? Especially when that is, after all, illegal? Here's a better idea: PRIVATIZE, and stop subsidizing the liquor/wine selection of Potter County by sending most of Southeast PA across the border to get better booze. If the folks in Coudersport WANT better booze, they'll find a way to get it, either by ordering it online, or ordering it through their local store, or picking it up when they travel. Instead, YOU would restrict us to the adequate State Stores, one size fits all, comrade, because the PLCB knows best.

Do you guys ever read these ridiculous arguments, or do you just copy them from Wendell Young's playbook and spew them back?

Albert Brooks said...

I don't expect to have Biajiu in every town but I DO expect it to be in SOME town like maybe Philly where there is a Chinatown area. Not asking too much there for a real store but apparently it is too much for the PLCB. The point you miss is that it isn't in ANY town in PA.

Since the Jaguar statement is mine I'll try again so you might understand better. "It isn't the government's job to make sure people have access to liquor any more than it is to make sure they can buy a Jaguar." Nothing about Washington State any time I used that but you are welcome to try and show differently. I can wait.

Having lived in Washington state I can say that "adequate" pretty much describes the state stores there which is why we'd get all the neighbors together and my favorite bar manager and drive to California. Load up 20 or so cases in the old station wagon, have dinner, come back and still save a noticeable amount of money. Washington had the highest liquor taxes in the country BEFORE privatization and Oregon was still #2.

Anonymous said...

Googled Baijiu concerning the flavor. You're right it did work, but they lost me when they mentioned "sweat socks soaked in vodka". Little wonder only a dozen or so states have it for sale. To the other anon; Pinnacle and the flavored whiskey market will not be threatened. Stuff must taste worse than Scotch.

Albert Brooks said...

I happen to like Scotch :)

Anonymous said...

Why do the new PLCB stores not have the "climate-controlled" fine wine rooms? That concept was introduced during the 21st century and I thought was a really big hit, but maybe not. I tried asking the PLCB on Facebook but got no answer.

Albert Brooks said...

More Baijui info:

http://www.theshout.com.au/2016/02/04/article/Worlds-most-valuable-drinks-brands-revealed/EOLVTAWNGB.html

Of course, nobody wants to drink that foreign stuff like Single Malt before the '60s, Irish Whiskey before the '90s, South American Wine before 2000. You get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info - you helped me more than the plcb did.

Albert Brooks said...

No problem. That bar is set pretty low.

Anonymous said...

Can any of you explain this to me? It looks like the PLCB went to the future and had a board meeting: http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/cons/groups/externalaffairs/documents/form/003282.pdf

Yes, they are acting like that meeting happened on the 10th. See this list: http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/PLCB/About/BoardSchedule/index.htm

Anonymous said...

I think you missed some sarcasm...

Anonymous said...

This week's monthly meeting happened early. It happened no later than yesterday but was scheduled to happen tomorrow.