A question.

Why does the PLCB bother spending craploads of money on full-color, multi-page glossy Sunday newspaper inserts advertising their fall sale on wines and spirits when there IS NO OTHER GOSH DARN PLACE IN THE ENTIRE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA FOR US TO BUY WINES AND SPIRITS?!

It’s like they don’t even understand what a monopoly is.

[shakes cute little fist]


  1. Butcher's Dog
    August 29, 2011 3:10 pm

    Well, how about if they advertise once in a while we won’t think they act like a monopoly. Plus they’re sharing some of our revenue with the newspapers. Plus, the pictures were nice and I can see whether my favorite wine is on sale this month. (It isn’t).

  2. katrina413
    August 29, 2011 3:34 pm

    Remember, this is the same organization that, in an attempt to not be privatized, offered to start a ‘rewards club’ for frequent customers. And they weren’t even trying to be ironic! This is a ‘business’ with no competition, so we have no other option, so what exactly is the rewards club supposed to encourage? Frequent usage? I thought the whole reason we have state-owned liquor stores is to discourage excessive drinking.

  3. jen
    August 29, 2011 3:35 pm

    “Well, how about if they advertise once in a while we won’t think they act like a monopoly. “ Hey, that observation could apply to UPMC marketing too!

  4. Brian
    August 29, 2011 3:59 pm

    Yeah, I am sick of this type of thing also and have been for a while.

  5. Sooska
    August 29, 2011 4:01 pm

    ..And, just for laughs, UPMC is a “non=profit.”

    Seriously, they want to appear to be just another wine merchant, offering multitudes of choices.

    They also control the sale of 6-packs of beer in order to curb excessive alcohol use by forcing us to buy whole CASES. They force you to buy 6 bottles, or more, of premium special order wines instead of one or two bottles to TRY, in order to prevent alcohol abuse. Hmmm…what is wrong with this equation..less is more, more or less?

  6. Carl Spackler
    August 29, 2011 4:03 pm

    It’s called money dry cleaning. Not as shifty as money laundering, rather paying off the newsmedia via this type of effort keeps the status quo in place

  7. Carpetbagger
    August 29, 2011 4:43 pm

    Because I keep forgetting… I like to drink.
    And then, they remind me that I like to drink.
    And then, I drink.
    And then, I forget shit again.

  8. Bram R
    August 29, 2011 4:47 pm

    Well. Maybe they want us to drink more?

    Like, “Ooh, look at that lovely mucus-green Tableleaf. And also the clear hard liquors. Perhaps we should get hammered this evening as we sit around and watch Chuck?”

    I don’t mind that the PLCB is advertising, I mind / appreciate that they’re doing it so badly.

  9. unsatisfied
    August 29, 2011 5:01 pm

    this picture reminds me that, hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

    wait……….it’s 5 o’clock right here!

    good thing I don’t live in PA and I can go to the grocery store across the street to get me some good hooch.

  10. Bram R
    August 29, 2011 5:29 pm

    Actually, that’s a mojito. In that case just add Gina Cerilli.

  11. bluzdude
    August 29, 2011 7:39 pm

    The State wants you to drink so that you don’t notice what they’re up to, and if you do notice, you’re likely to forget.

    Also FYI, in Canada they have frequent purchase programs in the liquor stores, which you can redeem like flight miles. I thought it was the best idea ever.

  12. Judy
    August 29, 2011 8:03 pm

    I’ve thought the same thing since I saw the very first ad. State government = always finding ways to waste taxpayer dollars.

  13. bucdaddy
    August 29, 2011 10:31 pm

    I thought the whole reason we have state-owned liquor stores is to discourage excessive drinking.

    Silly Katrina. The whole reason you have state-owned liquor stores is to keep state employees employed and voting for the party that makes sure they still have state jobs with state benefits.

    You think the system exists to benefit YOU in any way, shape or form?


    Heh-heh … silly Katrina.

  14. bucdaddy
    August 29, 2011 10:33 pm


    Ohio or West By-God?

  15. Burgh Bird
    August 29, 2011 10:42 pm

    Used to be, even if they could advertise, they couldn’t actually show the prices- cuz, that would make me want to, oh, I don’t know, buy it and heaven forbid, drink it.

    I have a friend that lives in Jacksonville FL…they have a chain there called Total Wines. It’s like Super-Walmart, only all they sell is wine and liquor. It is heaven for a little ole PA girl like me….

  16. unsatisfied
    August 29, 2011 11:07 pm

    @bucdaddy — south of the masie-dixie line, baby!

  17. gunnlino
    August 30, 2011 8:00 am

    Every time I see a PLCB ad it reminds me to put a few $$$ more in the pot for the purchase of wine and spirits on the drive to visit the grandkids in Oklahoma 3 or 4 times each year . Passing through several states allows for good shopping . Returning each trip with a good stash and not spending one cent in PA.

  18. Kevin
    August 30, 2011 8:18 am

    I shake my head also when I see commercials for the Postal Service, and then they complain they are short on money.

  19. Magnus Patris
    August 30, 2011 9:42 am

    That’s like advertising bacon. Everybody loves bacon. We don’t need no stinkin’ advertisments for bacon.

  20. Butcher's Dog
    August 30, 2011 9:50 am

    @Burgh Bird: I went to a Total Wines in Phoenix recently. Amazing collection of stuff I’d basically never heard of, including some niche beers. It was even better than the upscale Piggly Wiggly (yes, there IS such a thing!) we go to in Myrtle Beach.

    One argument against privatization that resonates with me (he says writing from a rural area of Mercer County) is that in the more sparsely populated regions, like mine, there would be less selection and availability than there is from my local State Store right here in my town. So I guess I’m torn on that issue.

  21. johhaz6312
    August 30, 2011 10:07 am

    I have been to the “Total Wine” stores here in Arizona as well. They have one in Tempe. Lots of selection and competative pricing.

    I actually located a 6 PACK of IC Lite one time.For nostalgia purposes I almost bought the thing but they wanted like $12.00 for it.Since I knew what I was dealing with as far as quality goes I saved my $ and bought a 12 pack of Heineken for $13.00. Now thats a bargain.

  22. bucdaddy
    August 30, 2011 10:19 am


    I’m five miles south of the line. You anywhere near me? Maybe we can meet up, have a That’sChurchAPabooza in the liquor department at Giant Iggle.

  23. bucdaddy
    August 30, 2011 11:00 am

    In many dictatorships (i.e., political monopolies) from the Pharoahs of Egypt to today, the guy at the top is usually forever building monuments to himself and plastering his image all over the place to remind people who holds all the power.

    Any parallels in this to the PLCB advertising and Luke Ravenstahl’s trash cans are purely coincidental, I’m sure.

  24. spoon
    August 30, 2011 12:29 pm

    @Butcher’s Dog but also more licenses will be made available with privatization so there’s nothing stopping you from starting your own store (well besides coming up with the cash to start a business)

  25. spoon
    August 30, 2011 12:30 pm

    also if there was a rewards program I’d be able to fly everyone on here to an exotic place… like Erie.

  26. Pa-pop
    August 30, 2011 12:38 pm

    @Kevin: Just want to point out that while the USPS isn’t competing for daily mail service, they compete fiercely with FedEx, UPS, DHL, et. al. for parcel delivery. The USPS needs that revenue stream to even have a chance at survival. Marketing it is a must.

  27. Bram R
    August 30, 2011 12:45 pm

    @Magnus Patris – I wonder how much value the pork industry has reaped over the years from that one Beggin’ Strips commercial. “IT’S BACCCOOOOON!”

  28. Pa-pop
    August 30, 2011 1:05 pm

    While on its face it seems unnecessary, I think (or perhaps hope) the PLCB is operating on some sort of positive fiscal logic. For the sake of argument, let’s say that without advertising gross revenue is $1,000. Let’s now say the data show that spending $100 in advertising produces $1,300 in same-period revenue, enough to cover the cost and produce a $200 uptick in cash.

    There could also be overstocks the may need to move. The PLCB is probably counting on someone seeing that ad and saying, “Hey, that mojito looks good. Think I’ll add that to the list for my Labor Day party.” They move product that may otherwise not be moving as fast and they hit their revenue goal for the quarter.

    I’m not saying this is right or wrong and I am loathe to defend the practices of the PLCB and its archaic system. However, if the PLCB has revenue goals like any other business – monopoly or otherwise – this may be why they advertise despite the clear non-existence of head-to-head competition.

  29. USCMike
    August 30, 2011 1:34 pm

    I still like the comparison to UPMC though…

    I think Jeff Romoff had to be drunk last week when he testified to the politicos that Highmark is now a competitor since their West Penn Allegheny deal. Guess he forgot that when UPMC started their health plan, they became a competitor of Highmark and you didn’t see Highmark cut people off from UPMC facilities…

    Guess I’d better head to the state store so I can load up and get drunk as I try to comprehend this twisted form of logic in use @ UPMC!

  30. Wink
    August 30, 2011 2:01 pm

    I was all excited when I saw the ad, I thought maybe they had coupons…

  31. USCMike
    August 30, 2011 5:03 pm

    You might be able to get some bogus coupons from Sen. Orie, I hear she’s a computer wiz at scanning and editing stuff these days! ;^)

  32. dash66
    August 30, 2011 8:22 pm

    Seeing the PLCB in action reminds me of when, as a young kid,I lived in Alabama back in the late 60s. They had just legalized beer sales in the supermarket, but to keep kids from being corrupted, they had to put a curtain in front of the beer in the refrigerator case too keep us young, impressionable kids from seeing that “evil drink”

  33. bucdaddy
    August 31, 2011 9:58 am

    I spent about five minutes in the South Hills Giant Eagle one day, watching a woman try to operate the wine kiosk there. It was pretty entertaining, so the PLCB has done more for me than most TV and movie “comedies.”

    This is, of course, just one more area where lowly West By-God is far ahead of you sophisticated slickers. The state privatized the liquor retailers decades ago and re-licenses every 10 years. The last go-round in 2010 was estimated to net about $24 million. That’s in a state with what, a tenth of Pennsylvania’s population?

    This may at least partially help explain why West By-God runs a budget surplus so large the Legislature had to change the law to allow the rainy-day fund to get bigger, while Pennsylvania’s budget is … how IS Pennsylvania’s budget doing these days?

  34. spoon
    August 31, 2011 11:00 am

    The customer service in the new beer dept. at Market District Bethel Park is so awful I thought for a second the PLCB took over.

  35. JenB
    August 31, 2011 11:51 am

    Looks like they’re finally giving up on those stupid wine kiosks.

    “How Does a Wine Monopoly Lose Money?”