Get Through Your Friday With The Help Of This Laughably Bad Anti-Liquor-Privatization Ad

Here in Pennsylvania, there’s a heated debate going on about whether or not to ease the state’s byzantine laws on the sale of alcohol. Both sides of the issue have merit, but a new ad arguing against changing the law isn’t doing itself any favors.

For some background: In Pennsylvania, wine and liquor can only be bought at state-run Wine & Spirits stores. Private businesses can sell beer, but that’s where it gets even more complex. In most states, you can get a six-pack at just about any convenience or grocery store, but in PA you can only get a few to-go beers at restaurants, bars and some licensed stores… and only up to a total of 192 ounces at a time. If you want more than that, head over to the beer distributor, where you can’t buy anything smaller than a case. Got that?

Some politicians want to completely privatize liquor sales, giving up state control of the Wine and Spirits stores. A proposal currently being discussed wouldn’t go so far, but would allow for bottled (and boxed!) wine to be sold by private businesses, as well as expanding the types of retailers that could sell beer.

The above ad, produced by the union that represents employees at Wine & Spirits stores, tries to make the argument that increased availability of alcohol will lead to some worrisome problems, but takes it to a laughable extreme.

“That would be so dangerous for kids,” says one of the moms (or, in the decidedly non-PA accent of the one actress, “mahms”), “having alcohol available in so many places.”

“I read the same kind of law in North Carolina is killing one child every week,” says the other mother, in a questionable interpretation of this article, in which the Chair of the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission stated that one death per week can be attributed to underage drinking.

Concludes the mom, as a doom-and-gloom piano plays over scenes of innocent children playing, “It only takes a little bit of greed to kill a child.”


Thing is, every point brought up in the commercial is — stripped of hyperbole — a valid point of discussion: What impact does better availability of wine and beer have on crime, safety, and underage drinking? Will it mean a loss of jobs and tax revenue or will those be made up by increased sales? But going the maudlin, overwrought route is only distracting from answering those questions.

For the rest of the country, it’s at least good for a laugh while trying to ride out the rest of your Friday afternoon at work.


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  1. SpeakBob says:

    As a PA resident and someone who travels a lot, I have no issue with the state keeping control of the liquor, but opening up the availability of wine & beer more than it already is. What I would love to see is that the case stores be aloud to sell partial cases and wine.

    I would also love to see PA relax some of their laws on what can come into our state. For instance, a lot of the micro-brews and specialty beer will never be found in PA because of how restrictive the licencing of new products are, and the micros or limited releases see it as too much of a headache to try to import it to PA. Also a large amount of wine is also not available do to other, but similar, licencing issues.

  2. petepuma03 says:

    I grew up in CT (which has its own bizarre alcohol laws) but I had a girlfriend in PA my senior year of college. I can recall going to a distributor and picking up two six packs and being told by the cashier that I could only buy beer in case increments. So… the state wants me to drink more? If I wanted less than a case, I had to go to a bar. Yep, I think PA wants us all to drink more.

    These are the kinds of laws that confirm for you that politicians are not the brightest bulbs on the tree.

  3. Snarkapus says:

    I was treated as an urban terrorist the first time I DARED to try and buy 2 12 packs at a store. “But sir, that’s more than 192oz.” Me: “WTF kind of state is this?”

  4. ZLoth says:

    Why do I have the feeling it’s less about protecting kids and more about protecting union jobs?

  5. SuperSpeedBump says:

    If you love beer, just come on up to Wisconsin… we love beer so much it’s practically subsidized! ;)