Does John Taylor Think Most of His Constituents Are Beer Distributors?

Melissa Daniels reports that John Taylor sees the people who sell the beer as his constituents, not the people who buy the beer. Actually the people who buy beer far outnumber the people who sell beer. He does not seem to have considered that a majority of his constituents have more in common with beer buyers than beer sellers, and as such he should support what’s best for the consumers – robust competition between beer distributors and grocery stores and convenience stores:

The original plan presented by Gov. Tom Corbett in January would have allowed beer sales at grocery stores, pharmacies, big box stores and gas stations in addition to beer distributors and the small number of grocery stores that currently sell beer by obtaining a restaurant license.

But lawmakers stripped most of that language out of the proposal on Monday – meaning consumers wanting to buy beer will still have limited options, even as wine and liquor sales become more open.

Liquor Control Committee Chairman John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, said these changes were made because beer distributors were made vulnerable, potentially losing their business to competition from other stores.

“What really kills beer distributors is the real proliferation of beer in grocery stores,” Taylor said. “So that’s really not happening here. That’s the real big difference between the governor’s plans and this one.”

But what’s good for the distributor is not necessarily good for the brewer.

The worst part of this is that lawmakers are doubling down on the recent court ruling that pits grocery stores against restaurants and bars for tavern licenses.

Do you think a guy trying to open a small corner pub has enough money to outbid Giant for a tavern license? No, Giant is going to win that fight every time. With tavern licenses limited to 1 per 3000 people in each County, every supermarket that gets a license to sell beer means one fewer restaurant with a beer menu.

There should not be a zero-sum fight over an artificially scarce number of licenses. Let everybody sell beer who wants to, and let the most mediocre places go out of business.

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