Monday, October 5, 2015

The PLCB enters the lottery business

Well, it is getting to be that time of year when the PLCB decides what the "most fair" way is to divvy up limited bottles. Last year it was Stacy Kriedeman saying that selling the products online is the most fair method. This year we get Board Chairman Tim Holden presenting a new "most fair," saying "In order to ensure that all consumers interested in a particular high-demand product have a fair chance to purchase the product, we have developed a lottery system for our most limited products.” 

Doesn't that mean people haven't had a fair chance in the past? Maybe it just means that the contractor they hired to do this gets to be the fall guy if it tanks. and then PLCB can claim it wasn't their fault. Just like the Oracle roll out disaster; they don't have the expertise to do it in-house without screwing it up. (I wrote about what I thought the system should look like at the end of last July. They didn't take all my advice so we'll see what happens.)

But is this new most fair method...even fair at all? There are the questions of legality about selling only to a PA resident. The state already restrains trade for their own citizens -- the police-enforced monopoly prohibits us from buying booze anywhere but in Pennsylvania -- but can they restrain trade to non-Pennsylvania citizens? Does or does it not violate Federal statute and will somebody invest enough to find out?  Can they have two systems, in which they allow non-residents to buy alcohol on their website, but refuse to sell these limited items to them at the same time?  What about the military personnel who can maintain the state as their residence but obviously don't have all their bills sent here. State-sponsored discrimination of the very people who are defending the state and country? How cool is that, PLCB?

The only way you will get this set in PA
 is if you copy this picture

Then there are people who own property and pay taxes to PA but don't live here. Is this another benefit of paying your taxes to support a government agency that couldn't care less about you? (I don't want to hear that crap about no tax dollars are used to run the PLCB. As long as the taxpayers are on the hook for over $600 million in pension and medical debt, as long as we have no choice on where to buy our booze, ALL PLCB money is taxpayer money.)

So on the 13th we get to see the first shakedown of the new system, when 24 bottles of some Buffalo Trace Experimental bottles are offered in two lotteries of 12 each (25% of which — 3 bottles of each! — is reserved for a separate licensee lottery). I'm sure the demand level will be close to what the Antique Collection or Pappy frenzy is and will be a real test of their system.

Of course, don't expect to get a flight of the full set of Pappy releases, or a complete BTAC collection. That's impossible in the "most fair" world of the PLCB. 


Anonymous said...

No offense but isn't Sazerac a low-end whiskey brand? Crown Russe vodka (which was very popular in the 1950s but I don't think exists anymore) was a Sazerac product and was the definition of awful, puke-inducing vodka.

Lew Bryson said...

Very much not so these days. Sazerac (the company) makes some of the best whiskey in America (not just my opinion, but of many), and the actual Sazerac rye whiskeys are excellent; again, not just my opinion. This is similar to Four Roses: it WAS a terribly cheap blended whiskey, I remember drinking it on a dare in college. But now it is restored to former glory as one of the very best whiskeys in the world.

You don't work for the PLCB, do you?

Albert Brooks said...

Crown Russe vodka is still not only sold by the state stores but is a state MANDATORY item. They HAVE to carry it.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by mandatory?

Albert Brooks said...

I mean that there are certain items the state deems must be carried in all stores. The classic definition of mandatory and it is also the word the state uses.