There has been a significant amount of liquor license topics which have garnered media attention recently, especially in the Lancaster area. Last Monday, the Beer Café in the Weis Markets in Ephrata opened. Also throughout the week, there was daily coverage of the Liquor Privatization Bill which was debated and passed in the House of Representatives. There was also coverage of a hearing before the House Gaming Oversight Committee where it was pointed out how costly and burdensome the Applications are for tavern gaming licenses. It was also pointed out that a mere 38 tavern gaming licenses were issued in the state. When the tavern gaming license was introduced in 2013, the Legislature anticipated that it would generate in excess of $100 million dollars of revenue for the state. Needless to say, they have fallen woefully short of that projection.
Those items, as well as the recent buzz around alcohol delivery, seem to further support the notion that even if the Alcohol Privatization Bill is not passed into law, the PLCB has every intention to continue to relax its restrictions and expand upon the sale of alcohol, all in the name of convenience for the consumer and continued revenue to the state. As we have seen over the course of the past couple of years, as the liquor privatization movement gains momentum, the legislature and the PLCB continue to take proactive measures to implement changes which relax some of the arcane restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Pennsylvania. As I have commented previously, these piecemeal steps appear to be an attempt by the PLCB and the legislature to confront the momentum for privatization.
While it remains to be seen whether the Privatization Bill will get any further this year than it did last year, it appears that so long as the topic remains in the news, the rules and regulations governing the sale of alcohol will continue to relax, even if it’s done little by little.