From Pine View Farm

Wine Bottle Vending Machines 2

Pennsylvania tests bottle vending machines, complete with breath-testing machines, in supermarkets.

Customers seem to think that they are better than the alternative, the alternative being patronizing Pennsylvania’s archaic state store system, which makes the traffic circles in Washington, D. C., look like marvels of forethought:

Individuals can buy wine and liquor for home consumption only in state-owned stores staffed by public employees. Private beer distributors sell cases and kegs only. Licensed corner stores, delis, bars and restaurants can sell beer to go, but only up to two six-packs per customer (and often at bar prices–ed.).

Numerous attempts at reform have been turned back by special interests intent on keeping their slice of the pie. So simply stocking Chianti and cabernet on supermarket shelves is not an option under the state’s post-Prohibition liquor laws.

One cannot blame Pierre L’Enfant for not foreseeing that horses would give way to automobiles. The Penna. state store system has no such excuse.



  1. shaun

    July 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Ben Franklin wrote that nothing in this world is certain except death and taxes. To which the eternal survival of the Pennsylvania state store system can be added.
    There is one sure way to commit political suicide in the Keystone State: Support abolition of the state store system.  Just ask the hapless pols who have done just that.

  2. Frank

    July 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    When I landed in Narberth in 1983, I realized that any liquor control system that made Virginia look sane was beyond the fringe.
    In Virginia, spirits are in the state store (called ABC stores down here for Alcoholic Beverage Control) and everything else is in your local supermarket or 7-11.
    Fortunately, the Narberth state store is right next to the train station and I’m not much of a beer drinker.  I like beer, but I can drink only so much.  I can drink whisk–oh, never mind.
    I heard an interview with beer distributors on Radio Times.  Listening to them try to justify their existence as a form of public service was most entertaining.  When they were done, I went to and listened to X Minus 1.