(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.