We always imagined that once the state left behind the Temperance Movement and got past the 1930s – aka liquor store privatization – that would lead to those small, independent wine shops you see in every other great city in the country.
Like maybe here, for instance:
But buried deep in the Inquirer’s story yesterday, which reported that a state rep. had formally introduced Gov. Corbett’s plan, we found this troubling nugget:
Groceries could sell carryout beer and wine – though critics have argued that the price for such licenses would run so high that it would edge out mom-and-pop entrepreneurs.
Here’s some more details from a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Story from January:
An unlimited number of licenses would allow other stores to sell beer or wine for an annual fee. Convenience stores and pharmacies could buy a license for $15,000 a year. Grocery store licenses would cost $25,000 to $30,000. Big box stores, such as Wal-Mart or Costco, would pay $35,000 annually.
Beer distributors could buy an “enhanced” distributor license for a one-time fee of $150,000. Restaurants or hotels could sell 30-packs of beer for a $5,000 annual fee.
So, does that leave room for wine shops to open on the Avenue? Presumably they would have to pay the $15,000.
OK, Corbett. This is an economic development opportunity here. Let’s make things a bit easier for small owners to open up. Maybe base the fee on square footage?