Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oh, Those Clever LCBers

Under fire and facing possible extinction, the state Liquor Control Board is open new super stores to give its image a makeover.

Oh, Those Clever LCBers


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Yo, boss, ya know that big pretty State Store down on Girard Avenue near Second?

BE: Gorgeous. Huge. Well-lit. Giant selection. Just like a real liquor store.

JB: Well, it's now got a sister store out in Allgeheny County. Big story about it in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

BE: Gee, you don't think the state Liquor Control Board is pulling out the stops to save itself, do you?

JB: Well, considering the alternative would be to bend over and kiss its butt bye-bye, the LCB seems anxious to fight for survival.

BE: So this is a statewide offensive, eh?

JB: Lots of folks think they're offensive, but, yeah, there are plans to open two new such stores in the next month or two: one in Monroeville outside Pittsburgh and another in Philly, according to an LCB news release.

BE: Think it works?

JB: The agency says sales are up, though I wonder who's advising them on marketing. The so-called "rebranded" stores carry a less-than-catchy name: "Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection Store."

BE: See what you mean. I'd have thought they'd go with something like "Booze Barn."

JB: You missed your calling, chief.

BE: Point is, I guess, to better appeal to customers.

JB: Yep. Highlights include a big center island with a wine expert, a tasting station and lots of info on food-pairing, party planning and so on.

BE: Wait. Wine-tasting in the store? Could give new meaning to `shop til you drop.' And party planning? Like maybe their own farewell party?

JB: Hey, they're just trying to "rebrand," to be more helpful to the buying public. Who knows, maybe next they'll offer free samples like mini-bottles of Jack Daniels with every purchase.

BE: Where'd you say that new Philly store is going?

JB: TBA, I guess. Just like the future of the LCB.

BE: Cheers.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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