Fishing in Barrel Lands Union Support

Unnecessary, unfair and un-American? Welcome to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the government liquor monopoly that union boss Wendell Young has made a lucrative career defending.Barrel

As papers across the commonwealth continue to run CF’s commentary “PLCB Should Not Pass Go,” Wendell has once again resorted to disingenuous talking points to try and curb Pennsylvanians’ enthusiasm to end the government’s liquor monopoly.

But no matter how Wendell skins it, the PLCB is not a cash cow for the state.  The agency ended the fiscal year with negative $9.8 million in net assets. That’s right, it finished the year owing more in liabilities than the agency had in assets. Learn more here.

Astonishingly, Wendell appears proud that the PLCB has eight highly controversial, in-house brands of wine and spirits (and 35 total products) that unfairly compete against Pennsylvania wineries and other private businesses by using your tax dollars to compete against private enterprise.

Kari Andren of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains how the PLCB is using your tax dollars to advance its monopoly:

The LCB spent nearly a half-million dollars last fiscal year, about 10 percent of its advertising budget, to promote five of its own private-label brands – TableLeaf, Dialed In, LA MERIKA, Hayes Valley and Las Parcelas, records show. No money was spent on two other wine brands, Zita and Vinestone, or Copper Sun vodka.

Even though Conti said he was “99 percent sure” no LCB money was spent to promote or develop the brands, ads placed by his agency for its in-house products appeared in high-profile, hard-to-miss locations in newspapers and magazines, on billboards, public transit vehicles in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, radio shows and the Internet radio service Pandora, as well as in online sponsorships, records show.

In other words, 10 percent of the PLCB’s advertising budget was spent on 0.52 percent of the total brands sold. 

Yes, Wendell, we’re calling “foul.” Fishing in a barrel is easy; advertising on the barrel is stupid and using tax dollars and a monopoly status to unjustly compete is unfair and un-American. And that advertising money is in addition to the more than $7-10 MILLION of your tax dollars spent copyrighting, branding, marketing and selling the government wine brand, TableLeaf.

It’s clear Pennsylvania’s Prohibition-era liquor laws, and government brand wines, don’t best serve the commonwealth citizens. The PLCB had their turn, we’ve played their unfair game and now it’s time for the government to get out of the booze business. 

Stay tuned and stay thirsty comrades for the fight needs your help! Visit to take action.