Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Most Important Letters at the PLCB Are Not "U" or "I"

The most important letters at the PLCB are C...Y...A. That's right; the agency runs on Cover Your Ass. Have a look.

In the Winter/Spring issue of the PLCB propaganda magazine "Taste," they had, on the cover, featured a drink called the Aviation, which requires creme de violette. It is a crucial ingredient in the cocktail, a necessity. But the PLCB didn't sell creme de violette at the time, except as a "special liquor order" (the aptly-named SLO) with a minimum order of six bottles. It sure seemed like they were telling anybody who wanted to make the drink featured on the cover of their own magazine -- who didn't want to spend $100 on a six-bottle SLO -- to go out of state to buy the proper ingredients. Of course, after having that pointed out, the PLCB approved creme de violette 2 months later. I'm not sure if it is really on the shelf yet, and how long will it be before they decide it isn't meeting their Five Year Plan of Sales and de-list it...again?

This isn't the first time the PLCB has put drinks in their rag that you can't make if you're stuck shopping at the State Stores, and I'm sure it won't be the last, either. ..again.

Get it while you can...or go out of state...again
Of course the most famous incident of CYA in the PLCB was when they tried to hide the whole wine kiosk fiasco as documented here. Nothing like trying to destroy evidence to inspire confidence in a public organization. Then there was the whole TableLeaf (and others) house brand disaster, and again, somehow all the paperwork on who instituted the idea, who initially approved it and why - all of that has disappeared.

We can go back to the big Oracle upgrade that went more than 200% over budget ($25.8M to $66.6M) because the PLCB couldn't read and understand the contract they signed. The Auditor General had a great time with that one, stating, "This raises questions about the PLCB's ability to adequately contract for information technology solutions." And that wasn't even the first time that was brought up by the AG. That earlier report is no longer on line at the AG website but I have a copy if you want to read it.

In fact, just reading all of the AG audit reports show a history of CYA. Remember the smile training that the husband of a senior PLCB official "won"? While the AG did say it was legal -- barely -- that didn't stop the PLCB from authorizing a second year as if to rub it in. Strangely enough, customer complaints increased.
We're happy to get you anything you want (if that has been authorized by people who know nothing about the liquor industry)!
"Each board member evaluates each license application on its own merits, thoughtfully deliberating over each decision and voting as he deems appropriate," says Elizabeth Brassel, Mistress Of Propaganda PLCB. Except when the Democratic Governor asks the Democratic Chairman to change his vote, like just happened when the Board "Freed The Six-Pack"....in a whole nine stores. That's about 1,416,667 people per "freed" store. I hope they hired extra cashiers.
Lining up for them freed six-packs; thanks, Wolfman!



Anonymous said...

Was that black and white photo taken at a State Store?

The issue with creme de violette raises a big question for me. What exactly does Southern Wine & Spirits do for the PLCB? I read Southern W&S was the PLCB's "supplier" but why would the PLCB need a supplier (other than the manufacturers of alcoholic beverages and the trucking companies that deliver to PLCB stores) if it's the largest buyer of wines and spirits in the world? Not much is written about Southern W&S but apparently they have a building (liquor warehouse, office building, or both?) in King of Prussia. Also the PLCB distribution center in Southwest Philadelphia on Enterprise Avenue (very close to the Philly airport) is run by a private company under license from the PLCB (NOT Southern, I forget what company I read it was) which seems like a very strange arrangement.

Also, the most recent PLCB meeting minutes says a new store is planned for Penrose Plaza in Southwest Philly, only a few blocks from the PLCB distribution center. Ironically, that distribution center has been open at least 30 years but no State Stores are anywhere nearby. Yet the nearby airport has at least one duty-free store which sells booze at way below PLCB prices.

Albert Brooks said...

Contrary to popular belief, the PLCB is a distributor in name only. Really just a middleman that distributes to PA state stores. It is doubtful if the PLCB was ever the largest retail seller in the world ever and it certainly isn't now with the LCBO and Costco selling more and Total Wine about to pass the PLCB within just a few years. On the Wholesale side the PLCB is 8th.

There is a lot to read about Southern you just have to read different things...more industry specific.

As for duty free, they are not open to the general public and are not under the state control since you want to give visitors a good impression and the PLCB would not be the way to do that.

As has been said before here many times. We don't know about real estate and really don't give a shit about what Pennrose Plaza is or isn't getting. YOU HAVE TO ASK THE PLCB Can I make that anymore clear?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that most everyone that comments on this blog is ridiculed?

Lew Bryson said...

Why is it that most everyone that comments on this blog is 'Anonymous'?

Use your name (or a consistent pseudonym) and things might go better.

Anonymous said...

What establishment is in the black and white photo?

Albert Brooks said...

No idea about the photo, the original didn't say.