Liquor Poll: Privatize It All

Member Group : Commonwealth Foundation

Poll Shows Privatizing Retail Alcohol Sales without Wholesale Privatization Insufficient

Harrisburg, PA – A new poll conducted on June 11th by Red Maverick Media shows that Pennsylvania voters want to end the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s monopoly over the wholesale distribution of wine and spirits. Most notably, 52 percent of likely voters said that privatizing retail alcohol sales but keeping the government wholesale monopoly is insufficient (only 18 percent said it was sufficient). [1]

Not surprisingly, when asked about "privatizing the state liquor wholesale operation," large numbers of voters were undecided. But when the concept was explained—that retail stores would have to keep buying wine and spirits from the government—support grew substantially.

More than 60 percent of likely voters said we should not continue to force every store to "buy its wine and spirits from the government."

"Voters clearly recognize that keeping the government middleman in the liquor business isn’t going to deliver the selection and convenience they deserve," said Matt Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "If the government determines what products are sold and not sold in the state, sets prices, and charges additional fees to business owners, consumers won’t benefit."

Under current law, restaurants and taverns must buy their wine and spirits from the PLCB directly, and must pick up their orders from state liquor stores themselves. According to an analysis from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), a proposal to "modernize" the PLCB’s operations and offer delivery to more than 15,000 restaurants, bars and hotels would cost as much as $770 million a year in additional costs—costs that would be shouldered by Pennsylvania taxpayers and consumers.

Complete poll results can be found here.

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For more information, please contact John Bouder,
Communications Officer at
717-671-1901 or [email protected].
The Commonwealth Foundation crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.
[1] Question wording "If wine, spirits and beer could be purchased at a grocery store but these stores would have to continue buying wine and spirits from the government would you consider that sufficient privatization of the government liquor business?"