Gov. Tom Corbett today announced that’s exactly what he has in mind to do. He wants to auction off wine and liquor store licenses so that the stores currently run by the state can be closed and replaced with about twice as many private liquor stores, according to an Associated Press story on lehighvalleylive.com.
Now, when a restaurant gets a liquor license, Armetta says, part of the process is to choose the one state store from which it will buy all its liquor.
“I’m lucky. I got one right next door,” he says from his Macungie location.
So if selling liquor shifts to the private sector, as a restaurant owner, Armetta says he’ll wait for instruction from the state.
“But why would they do it? They have a monopoly,” and there’s too much money involved, he says.
And if it does happen, Armetta predicts it will be a long process, and he’s probably right.
Corbett, in his announcement, said that it could take up to four years after legislation is passed to implement the privatization, according to lehighvalleylive. But no timeline was given regarding the length of time it might take for lawmakers to pass the legislation.
Armetta says what would affect his Macungie and Emmaus locations most is if the state starts allowing the sale of beer in grocery stores. Currently, he does a brisk business selling 6-packs of beer. He would lose those sales if people could buy beer when they’re shopping at the Weis Market right across the parking lot, he said.
“In NJ we could buy all our alcohol in a separate section of the grocery store. No beer stores and state stores,” says Susan Bataglia Berger, “The new plan works for me!”
But not all were in favor.
“Beware...remember when casino games became legal, sold to us as boon for property tax relief, only to never materialize...and it makes a fortune, “ says Michael Ahearn. “Booze will be equally profitable and someone will make a fortune...good luck following the money!!”