The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has started auctioning off restaurant liquor licenses which have expired as allowed under Act 39, Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) announced in a news release on Wednesday, September 14th.
Act 39, or the Alcoholic Beverage Convenience (ABC) and Wine Privatization Act, has been in effect since August 8th. Turzai, who sponsored the law, issued the following statement, “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… 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.”
The first licenses which expired are 40 among 21 Pennsylvania counties. The bids for these licenses are due no later than 12:00 p.m. on October 27th, 2016. According to the news release, the reason for the limited number of licenses is “to prevent saturating markets and driving down demand for licenses, and gives the commission an opportunity to transition into the new process.”
Act 39 lets the PLCB sell as many as 50 expired restaurant liquor licenses per county annually, says Turzai. The minimum bid for an expired restaurant liquor license is $25,000. License transfers must be approved by local governments.
Under Act 39, the PLCB must auction restaurant liquor licenses which have expired due to not being renewed, because an administrative law judge revoked them, or because they are not eligible for safekeeping anymore. Expired licenses from the year 2000 onward will be up for bidding.
Turzai also said the following, “We will be watching the PLCB closely to see that these licenses continue to be auctioned in an expeditious manner to meet consumer demand.”
Act 39 also allows grocery stores with restaurant licenses to sell wine. In addition, wine may be shipped to the homes of Pennsylvania residents. In August, the Giant Eagle located at Settlers Ridge in Allegheny County’s Robinson Township became the first wine-selling grocery store in Pennsylvania.