Obsessed with privatization I
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Friday, July 5, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
Seems the Trib is hellbent on pushing liquor privatization. Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan, writers of the column “The truth about liquor control” (June 28 and TribLIVE.com), do not have a clue about the subject. The only people hurt will be the unionized state-store workers? Hardly — they will be shuffled around to other state jobs.
So, who else will be hurt? The 85 percent to 90 percent of “D”-license beer distributors who don't have the space to expand to the 5,000 to 7,000 square feet that would be required for them to sell wine and spirits, nor the capital for license fees. Sure, the state will loan them the money, but they still will have to pay it back from their sales — an added expense. They will eventually have to compete with Wal-Mart and large pharmacies, grocery stores and out-of-state liquor warehouses just waiting to move in.
The next time the Trib interviews a “D” distributor, don't pick from the 10 percent to 15 percent that have the capital and the space; ask a small distributor. Also, if you think prices will go down, think again.
Ask pharmacies and big-box stores to get in a certain microbrew or import. After they stop laughing, think about the local distributor out of business, who would have tried to get that brew for you.
There is a solution, but it is not throwing crap against the wall and hoping something sticks. Privatization is not easy; it will take more thought than Gov. Corbett has given it. And if you include beer in the equation, I have a better solution that does not destroy family businesses and jobs.
The writer owns Bargain Beer N Pop in Johnstown.
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