Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Opposition Builds To PLCB Proposal For Boutique Wine Stores Inside Gourmet Food Shops/Restaurants

plcb corkMore than 50 restaurants have joined a group opposed to the proposal called 'PA Restaurants for Fair Competition.'

The group has a website, on which they explain their case while conceding that the PLCB proposal is "well-meaning" and that the "PLCB should be applauded for its efforts to improve Pennsylvania's wine situation."

Peter Van Allen updates the story, with statements from both sides, for the Business Journal:
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's proposal to open wine "boutiques" within gourmet food shops is facing a backlash from Center City restaurant owners.

Restaurateurs fear the LCB is going to get into the food business, forcing restaurants to compete against the entity that regulates them and enforces actions against them.

"It's a regulation issue; it raises a lot of conflict issues," said Jonathan Myerow, an owner of Tria, which has two Center City locations.

But the LCB insists it is not getting into the restaurant business. Joe Conti, CEO of the LCB, adds that the plan is in the exploratory phase. In a statement prepared in response to Philadelphia Business Journal questions, Conti said the state is focused on a retail concept in which a limited number of high-end wines will be "hand-sold" to customers of gourmet food shops.

"As part of its plan to evolve into a customer-focused specialty retailer, the Liquor Control Board is exploring the idea of having wine boutiques as sublets from high-end gourmet food shops in Pennsylvania communities including Philadelphia," Conti said.

"While we understand the concern, we have a business responsibility to explore new opportunities. The board believes the wine boutiques at high-end, gourmet food shops will help the board meet its responsibility and, ultimately, generate revenue that benefits its shareholders — the taxpayers of Pennsylvania."
[...]
In the two months since [the proposal was first reported], the issue has come to a boil.
Jose Garces is apparently still interested but wisely declined further comment.

Related:
Eateries sour on LCB wine plan [ Philadelphia Business Journal ]
PA Restaurants for Fair Competition [ Official Site ]
Earlier:
More Opinion on the LCB/Garces Venture [ Foobooz ]

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