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Tim Holden Responds to Critics on Liquor Store Price Hike

Privatizing liquor stores remains the best option.

Privatizing liquor stores remains the best option.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced recently that it’s increasing prices on more than 3,500 different brands of products at its Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores across the state.

That 4% across-the-board price hike will go into effect on Sunday, Jan. 15.

The news will certainly not be welcomed by state store customers when they shop there starting Sunday. It’s just one more rising cost to manage. Local restaurants that offer wine and cocktails and other liquor-based drinks will likely be forced to pass these costs on to their customers.

The price increase on liquor in Pennsylvania is not being well-received by liquor and hospitality industry leaders, either.

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And Tim Holden, Schuylkill County’s former long-time Congressman and now PLCB Chairman, was quick to respond to those critics of the decision.

In a statement released earlier this week, the senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS), Andy Deloney, offered sharp criticism of the PLCB decision, especially about the timing of the decision and the speed at which it’s being implemented.

“Ten days is not nearly enough time for spirits producers to plan for and adjust to price increases,” Deloney says. “This last-minute push by an outgoing administration will have implications not only for spirits producers, but for the Pennsylvania hospitality industry and its consumers. These decisions should be part of a larger discussion with impacted stakeholders, yet this across-the-board increase was done without any consultation or collaboration. We are extremely disappointed in the process by which this increase was determined and hope the PLCB will adjust future plans to include consideration of the partners most heavily impacted by their unilateral decision-making.”

Deloney believes the LCB’s decision to increase prices, especially in haste as he perceives it, will lead to more Pennsylvania customers going to other states for more competitive liquor and wine prices.

Holden responded to Deloney’s remarks in a statement on Thursday. He says the critic’s take is a little hypocritical.

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“DISCUS’s objection to the PLCB’s January price increases is surprising at best, disingenuous at worst. Every single one of the 14 DISCUS Director Members from which the PLCB buys product increased costs and retail prices within the last two years without PLCB input,” Holden says in a statement.

The former Congressman also suggests that DISCUS members had another reason for being mad about the price increase.

“Since the January price increases were announced, a number of DISCUS members have approached the PLCB about additional cost increases, disappointed that they didn’t get a ‘cut’ of the planned PLCB increases, Holden adds.

The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association has also criticized the PLCB decision to raise liquor prices.

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  1. Jackie Adamitis

    January 14, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    I don’t blame them for raising prices….They haven’t raised them in how many years?….What does bother me is IF the stores go private ,3500 people will be out of a job……That bothers me….IF the stores go private, underage drinking will rise because Daddy owns the store and his daughter will sell to her high school friends….That bothers me….

    • Canary Commenter

      January 14, 2023 at 9:32 pm

      Lots of bars and restaurants that serve alcohol are family-run and how often do you hear of that happening? And those 3,500 people “out of a job” will find a job elsewhere. The privately-owned stores will need employees for a $3 billion industrry in the state.

      The free market is ALWAYS better.

      Thanks for reading and your comment. Appreciate the take.

    • bill lucas

      January 18, 2023 at 1:58 pm

      I live california and Pennsylvania and NONE of what you mentioned is true

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