Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The PLCB Hiding Failure Once Again - UPDATED!

Back in October of 2015 the PLCB came out with a new magazine called "Savor." It was supposed to be a quarterly guide to premium Wine & Spirits. You can see a copy of it here. See anything odd about that front cover? Neither did the PLCB, and that may have come back to bite them. They apparently didn't do any due diligence or research to see if the name was taken or if it would infringe on a current publication.

While it's mostly speculation on my part, I suspect the people at Saveur Magazine did take notice that Savor, while spelled differently, was pronounced largely the same, also covered wine and food, and would therefore infringe on their trademark. Normally in business there would be some kind of damages for use of improper use of a trademark, but I can't find anything that shows any were paid. There may have just been a curt cease-and-desist letter, and the PLCB may have taken the smart option for once and pulled the plug, but... These things take forever to work out so there may be nothing to find yet.

However, the telling fact is that I can no longer find ANY mention of Savor anywhere official, and I've always thought my Google-Fu was pretty good. Nothing on the FWAGS website, any search for "Savor Magazine" takes you to the PLCB Taste magazine listings. Savor has disappeared except for the actual link I posted above. Maybe one of you readers can find more than I did.

Nobody will notice - go with it!
So, here it is the beginning of April and of course, a quarterly magazine would be out by now since the first quarter of the year ends on March 31st. No Savor to be found anywhere. What happened to it will probably never be known -- the PLCB tries to bury its failures when it can; the wine kiosks being a rare exception that they seemed oddly proud of -- but what is known is that it is another case of PLCB failure added to the long list of poor business decisions they have made since inception.

By the way...there's more amusement to be had. Check the masthead of that issue of Savor: the PLCB got Philadelphia's MetroCorp to do Savor. They're better known as the publishers of Philadelphia magazine, and that's no surprise: the PLCB and PhillyMag do booze events together, which maybe explains why PhillyMag is a lot less pro-privatization than ... well, almost any other Pennsylvania publication, except maybe Taste. So are we back at audit time? How much did the PLCB blow on this contracted disaster? I'm going to try and find out but maybe like with TableLeaf, nobody in the PLCB will remember and there won't be any paperwork left to check.


Unlike the 40 days it took the PLCB to answer my questions about negotiations the PLCB was much quicker with this inquiry. Their answer to what happened to Savor Magazine is that; "Savor magazine was renamed Premium Collection. The Spring/Summer edition is anticipated to be available around the middle of June." Great, that doesn't tell me what happened just what is going to happen. So the next question is if Savor was renamed because of the trademark infringement I speculated about above. 

They wouldn't outright admit to that but came up with this answer; "The PLCB has determined that a new name for its quarterly publication focusing on premium products – “Premium Collection” – would both align the publication more closely with our Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection luxury brand and avoid any confusion with another business." They couldn't determine that there would be confusion BEFORE they published?  This is pretty much double speak for "Hey we got a Cease And Desist order from another publication and since there wasn't a chance in hell we would win we decided to change the name and it took us too long to come up with "Premium Collection" so the publication date had to be pushed back." Is there any doubt? As Paul Harvey used to say, Now you know the rest of the story.


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