Sunday, August 30, 2015

Save the LCB!

Looks like a campaign is underway to save the state's Liquor Control Board. Otherwise, why have TV ads?

Save the LCB!


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

JB: So I'm watching the Phils the other night, you know, the come-from-behing extra-inning game that was part of the double-header?

BE: Yeah, great game.

JB: And suddenly I'm looking at a TV ad for the LCB.

BE: LCB? Let Capitalism Blossom?

JB: Uh, no. It's Liquor Control Board.

BE: Oh, the outdated, prohibition-era, hulking bureacracy that controls the sale of booze across our great commonwealth?

JB: That's the one.

BE: Why would a monopoly need to advertise?

JB: Oh, I don't know, MAYBE because the Guv and leading GOP lawmakers want to can the State Store system and join the rest of the free world in letting the free market sell wine and spirits.

BE: Didn't the board also just reject a price increase?

JB: Something tells me you pay attention to booze issues.

BE: Hic!

JB: Anywho, yeah, it did. SOME say that's all part of its plan to prove it's consumer friendly and fully deserving of extended life.

BE: What's the ad say?

JB: Here it is. It's a plug for "chairman selection" wines. It's cheaply made, just still pictures with a voice-over. A little story about "David," a wine expert, and "Sarah," a wine shopper. It promotes chairman selections and notes they are "only available at premium collection PA wine & spirit stores."

BE: Doesn't the state system buy more booze than any place on the planet with the possible exception of Eastern Europe?

JB: It does. And since it's a monopoly, I called the LCB to ask why advertise.

BE: And?

JB: They say the ad in question was only on WPHL and done in exchange for some time the LCB bought from the Phillies for park and Jumbotron ads. They say they do limited ads because they're competing with other states and other beverages for "wallet share" of drinkers' dough.

BE: I like the chairman's selections.

JB: Yeah, but "chairman" just sounds, I don't know, a little communistic. Grrrr.

BE: Those would be the commissar's selections. All hail the LCB, wine store of the people!

JB: You're angling for samples, aren't you?

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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