Fact Check: Liquor Safety and Proliferation Myths

This is the second in a series of blog posts addressing the common myths opponents use against getting government out of the businesses of selling alcohol. Check out the first post in the series here.

Myth #3: A state-run system keeps Pennsylvania safer.

State government’s liquor monopoly does not make citizens more sober or safer. Despite the highest level of government control in the nation, Pennsylvania ranks higher than the national average in rates of underage drinking, underage binge drinking and overall binge drinking. The commonwealth also ranks higher than most bordering states in alcohol-related traffic fatalities and total alcohol-related deaths per capita.

Often the Center for Disease Control’s independent “Task Force” study is used as a red herring against privatization. But let’s examine the facts. First, the Task Force does not represent the CDC’s official position. Second, the Task Force reviewed 21 studies with more than 30-year-old sales data, some of which found increased consumption following privatization; others found no change or decreases. Finally, the Task Force’s synopsis ignores the fact that none of the studies show liquor store privatization has an effect on underage drinking or DUI fatalities.

Government statistics show no difference between states with government-run alcohol monopolies and those licensing private retailers. See for yourself! Using government data, the site below allows you to compare social outcomes for states that control their alcohol sales to states that don’t.

Myth #4: There will be a liquor store on every street corner.

The proposed plan would not allow for such a fear-based scenario to exist, but would issue a limited number of stand-alone wine and spirits licenses (for both big and small stores) through an auction, with a set number for each county. More important, full privatization would allow Pennsylvanians the convenience of buying bread, beer and Bordeaux all in one stop in grocery stores and other private establishments that are regulated and licensed by the state government.

Stay tuned for more liquor store privatization facts and myths, and check out our new issue-specific website, BoozeFacts.com. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, there are easy ways you can take action to get government out of the booze business in Pennsylvania; learn more here.