HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania House Speaker (R-Allegheny) announced the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has begun the process of auctioning off expired restaurant liquor licenses as permitted by Act 39, the Alcoholic Beverage Convenience (ABC) and Wine Privatization Act. The Turzai-sponsored law went into effect on Aug. 8.
“In sponsoring, then passing Act 39, we envisioned the sale of well over 1,000 licenses to grocery stores across Pennsylvania to Pennsylvania consumers. This PLCB auction of 40 licenses is a first step of fulfilling that position,” Turzai said. “While there are grocery stores which already have a license to sell wine, these auctions will provide similar opportunities for more consumers to be able to experience customer convenience, lower prices and market competition.”
According to the PLCB, the first batch of expired licenses will include 40 from 21 counties in the state, with bids due by noon on Oct. 27, 2016. The first batch included only 40 licenses to prevent saturating markets and driving down demand for licenses, and gives the commission an opportunity to transition into the new process.
According to Turzai, the ABC and Wine Privatization Act allows the PLCB to sell up to 50 expired restaurant liquor licenses per county each year. The minimum bid is $25,000 and local governments will still need to approve the transfer of any licenses into their municipality.
Turzai said the new law requires the PLCB to auction expired restaurant liquor licenses in cases where the licenses were either not renewed, revoked by an administrative law judge, or are no longer eligible for safekeeping. Licenses which expired since the year 2000 are included, as well as any which expire in the future.
“We will be watching the PLCB closely to see that these licenses continue to be auctioned in an expeditious manner to meet consumer demand,” Turzai added.
Other major provisions of Act 39 included the sales of wine by grocery stores with restaurant licenses and the direct shipment of wine to consumers’ homes. Turzai and other lawmakers celebrated the first grocery store to sell wine from its shelves – the Giant Eagle supermarket at Settlers Ridge in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, in August.