Liquor Privatization Benefits Beer Distributors

In the Bucks County Intelligencer, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney suggests that the liquor privization bill that passed the House last week doesn’t do enough for beer distributors.  In contrast, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, “It gives too many breaks to beer distributors.”

House Bill 790 is generous to beer distributors given the investment these folks have invested in their business already, and will ensure they can compete in the evolving marketplace.

Under House Bill 790:

  • Beer distributors would get the first opportunity to purchase the 1,200 wine & spirits licenses, and no one else can purchase these licenses for one year;
  • Beer distributors get a much lower price for those licenses than anyone else;
  • And the state would offer beer distributors four years of financing to pay for the license fees to be the sole retailer of beer, wine, and spirits in the state.

Pennsylvania’s Prohibition-era control system is on its way out. Sen. McIlhinney and beer distributors must recognize this.  The latest proposal gives beer distributors the opportunity to compete in the future.  

More than 60 percent of Pennsylvania residents—and two thirds of voters in the Philadelphia suburbs—want to see an end to the government monopoly over wine and liquor sales.  Voter demands go beyond polls—Pennsylvania loses hundreds of million in sales each year to consumers crossing state borders to get the convenience and selection they want.

As Chairman of the Law and Justice committee, Sen. McIlhinney has the opportunity to lead on this issue and stand on the side of taxpayers and consumers against the demands of special interests.