Thank you to Chad Umble for another informative article about the changing landscape for PA liquor licenses. I’m sure there are many who read the article and wonder why the PLCB doesn’t just increase the number of available licenses or create a different kind of license for grocery stores and convenience stores to alleviate the pressure on the restaurants. The answer to that question is neither simple nor clear, but I can give you some thoughts on why those options are unlikely to occur.
First, simply issuing more licenses would involve a change to the liquor code in Pennsylvania, which would have to pass through the legislature. It is not as simple as the PLCB simply saying that the quota should be updated or more licenses should be issued. Any time a bill is introduced regarding changes to the liquor code, it usually generates a lot of attention from many industry groups. The Brewer’s Association, Restaurant and Lodging Association, Tavern Owners Association, the Malt Beverage Distributors Association, and more recently the Convenience Store Council and the Food Merchants Association, all are trade groups that are impacted by even small changes to the liquor code. Each of these organizations represents members in various aspects of alcohol sales in the state and any change to the liquor code often impacts each of these groups very differently. As a result, when liquor bills are advanced in the house or the senate, enormous pressure is placed on our legislators to recognize the interests of these various groups and not change the landscape to hurt any particular industry. What often happens as a result of this is little or no change.