Snazzy Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) internet ads are making a splash, and the “largest purchaser of wine and liquor in the United States” has a slick new website at FineWineandGoodSpirits.com. Though you’re hopefully sober enough to make your own judgment, the PLCB really thinks it has to tell you that the wine is fine and the spirits are good.
The chic new PLCB site successfully produces the cyberspacial ambiance of expensive dining, elegant parties, and cultured life. Move over Shoppers Vineyard, Marketview Liquor, Mission Liquors, and WinesTilSoldOut.com! Of course, these sites probably don’t have taxpayer backing.
The mood is a little tarnished with medical cautions, an alcohol impairment chart, and responsible party hosting tips. Talk about a nanny state!
So how much is this government-run monopoly paying on advertising? In 2009, the annual advertising budget for beer, wine and liquor stores was 4.9% of sales, or an average of $89,154 per store. Pennsylvanians have no doubt noticed a dramatic increase in advertising in 2010, since the PLCB is being threatened with privatization.
In fact, the PLCB recently solicited a consulting bid for universities to revamp the state’s selling model to bring in more customers. Some of the “fruits” of these studies include training for employees and the construction of chic wine boutiques. If you’re really curious about what we pay for, check out all 2009 PLCB employees’ salaries.
But Pennsylvanians are smart — we see through fancy advertising and still have much to desire from our antiquated liquor control board — starting with privatization.