Wine Kiosks: One of These Things is Not Like the Others

Yesterday, Auditor General Jack Wagner released an audit of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s wine kiosk program. Following that, PLCB CEO Joe Conti talked with capitol reporters. In the spirit of being “civil,” let me offer a few quotes about the wine kiosks without comment…though for some reason I am thinking of a certain Sesame Street song.

Auditor General Jack Wagner: “We think the wine-kiosk program has failed, and it needs dramatic, radical changes if the program is going to continue to exist.”

PLCB Advisory Committee on Wine kiosk contract: “In light of the approved evaluation criteria and the reasons outlined above, the Evaluation Committee reiterates its recommendation that the Board not enter into contract negotiations with Simple Brands, L.P. for Wine Kiosks.”

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board on wine kiosks: “Rarely before has any government agency so succinctly, thoroughly, and convincingly made the case for its own elimination.”

Wegman’s Grocery Stores, after dropping wine kiosks from all its stores: “We had hoped that our customers would find the kiosks to be a valuable addition to their shopping experience, but that proved not to be the case.”

Former PLCB Chairman Jonathan Newman: “You can’t mimic a privatized industry and what privatized retailers could do, and I think this is a really golden opportunity to allow Pennsylvanians to enjoy wine and spirit sales under a free enterprise.”

PLCB attorney in letter to wine kiosk vendor: “Please be advised that if Simple Brands does not cure the problems within 45 days of this notice, the board will terminate the contract . . . and cease all kiosk operations.”
York Daily Record editorial board on wine kiosks: “Get rid of this Soviet-style monstrosity.”
PLCB CEO Joe Conti: “While 35 bottles per day, 210 bottles per week goals haven’t been met, wine kiosks are a profitable program and 4 to 5 [more] years would prove that.”