It's time for a change. But is it coming?
Rob Wonderling, the last state senator to invest serious time in reforming Commonwealth booze policy before his recent retirement, thinks that the days are numbered for the current system. The actions of supermarkets like Wegman’s—who put LCB-approved cafeterias in their stores in order to sell liquor—as well as fall-out from a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision compelling the state to permit online wine sales from out-of-state sources are, in Wonderling’s opinion, “slowly dismantling the state-controlled system for beer, wine and spirits”.
Harrisburg is two weeks into an important election year. Every state representative and half of our state senators will ask for permission to keep their jobs. Widespread public anger over a core issue of personal freedom may catch their attention and maybe even let the booze flow a little freer through the Keystone State. And wouldn’t that taste sweet? ■
PW suggests some mild acts of civil disobedience to help bring down the liquor board*
Take Holy Orders For just $965, you can get yourself a sacramental-wine license. Combine this with a trip to the Universal Life Church website, where you can get ordained as one of their ministers with a few mouse clicks. And Amen! You’re in the booze-worshipping business, just like Catholics. Or journalists. This permits you to import any booze of choice for your ‘temple’ (basement) and share the sacred offerings with your ‘congregation’ (ladies or dudes you like). Be sure to tithe the hell out of them, to prevent mooching.
Make your own You can lawfully make up to 200 gallons of hooch per household per year. Pick up your kit at Home Sweet Homebrew (at 20th and Sansom), join HOPS (Homebrewers of Philadelphia and Suburbs) for some pointers, and you’re in moonshine heaven. Think of yourself as a freedom fighter, battling communist-era stooges from your front porch like in Red Dawn . If possible, yell “Wolverines!” whenever you sample.
Waste their time If your state-run store doesn’t have the hooch you want, you have the right to request a special order. Exercise that right, and listen to the staff’s joy as you request bottles of Peruvian black maize cider, Chinese gecko brandy, or Eskimo seagull wine (yes, these all exist).
Buy a car that runs on ethanol Stuff the fuel tank with some fruit, and soon you will have many liters of delicious brandy. Probably.
*These ideas are for your amusement only. PW takes no responsibility for anyone silly enough to act on them or do anything else that may involve breaking the law.
Fantasizing about the passage of a liquor liberation law:
Thousands of Philadelphians flock to FreeMyBeer.com, standing up for the rights of God-fearing shoppers to buy beer and groceries at the same time. The campaign goes viral: FreeMyScotch.com, FreeMyVermouth.com, and FreeMy WhiteWineSpritzer.com become social-networking phenomena.
Pennsylvania’s Tea Party movement is overshadowed by its new Booze Party movement, which demands a return to the Founding Fathers’ liberal stance on alcohol. Politicians quiver at the antics of these period-costumed weirdos, since most voters actually agree.
Cowed by protest, the Pennsylvania House and Senate shrink the liquor code to a few sensible pages, and sell the state stores to their employees, who genuinely love fine wine and spirits and want to share them with grown-ups in a grown-up way.
Eddie Rendell signs the slimmed-down law and is carried in triumph, on cheering Philadelphians’ shoulders (along Ben Franklin Parkway). We then dunk the Gov. in the Logan Circle fountain, specially filled with Yards IPA for the occasion.
In case you missed it this weekend, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board installed and opened its first Philly-area wine vending machine. It’s in Drexel Hill, the Fresh Grocer, 5000 State Road. We know buying wine from a machine is the 4th mark of the beast (the first was soda vending machines, the second was snacks, third [...]
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