Liquor’s Lap of Luxury a Laughingstock
With grand style on your dime, the ponderous Princes of Pinot are noses and palms up choosing what wine and liquor you will and will not consume in the Keystone State. Cheers to Kari Andren of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for her work this weekend exposing the arrogance and absurdity of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board princely and pricey practices.
Among her findings, a luxurious tasting room built with your tax dollars as to not offend the delicate sensibilities of the state’s well-tendered tasting team. That’s right, you pay for a tasting team replete with hefty taxpayer-funded pensions, per diems and worldwide travel to the likes of Paris, Dubai and Italy, et al.
“Many days, the LCB experts are standing at tall cocktail tables or sitting around a boardroom table in black leather chairs in the “REC Room,” named for the agency’s Harrisburg Retail Education Center.
A cross between a country club bar, a lounge and a board room, the room is designed to offer a noise- and odor-free atmosphere in which to sample products. The room is also used for meetings with vendors and video conferences, according to LCB spokeswoman Stacey Witalec.
The state spent nearly $35,000 to outfit the room with two big-screen monitors, a wine rack and wine cooler, a black leather couch, four leather arm chairs and other accessories, Witalec said. A $5,000 pub-style bar and hutch are modeled after the bar in the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States’ tasting room in Washington.”
And yet, here we are, about 28,641 days into our Cabernet captivity, still looking for freedom while taxpayer-paid tasters whisk around the world picking wine winners and liquor losers. This is how the sheep must have felt when they were told “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” So I guess until we stop getting fleeced, stay thirsty my comrades.