We can’t have nice things if Democrats won’t engage this debate in good faith, but this is still horrible. The top thing to want in alcohol reform is unlimited beer licenses for supermarkets, but apparently that’s going away for no better reason than that beer distributors don’t want to compete with supermarkets. And if I were a beer distributor owner I wouldn’t want to compete with supermarkets either. But there’s no public interest in blocking competition. The problem is that beer distributor interests aren’t the public interest. If any group has a claim on the public interest in this fight, it’s the beer consumers, not the sellers. That’s who politicians should be representing. The public interest is promoting more competition between all these businesses so consumers get the widest selection and the best prices:
Also unlike Corbett’s proposal: grocery stores could only sell wine – unless they also applied for a special license giving them permission to sell beer. That license would require them to have a separate seating area for food.
That tinkering was done to protect beer distributors – many small and family-owned – from competition by retail giants.
But perhaps the biggest difference is this: State Stores would not immediately shut down. Instead, they would be phased out over time, and some could remain open in rural counties.
That is because, under the revised plan, all State Stores in a county would close only if privately owned wine and spirits stores (including groceries) outnumbered them by 2-1. Some Republicans who support that change are concerned about sparsely populated areas where many State Stores do not turn a profit and businesses may be hesitant to purchase a license
It’s also nuts that Republicans want to keep failed businesses open in rural areas, where there’s not enough demand for liquor. If the market can’t support a liquor store, it’s not the government’s job to supply more liquor, at cheaper prices, than people want to buy. There is just no conceivable public interest in having the government subsidize the sale of liquor in empty areas of the state.