Out of Control

Traveling to Dark Lord Day last weekend, I had the opportunity to shop at several terrific wine/beer/liquor stores. It was so much fun shopping in places that had a variety of products to offer, and allowed me to purchase small quantities at competitive prices. We visited the following:

  • Rozi’s Wine House in Lakewood, OH opened at 8 AM and sold a great selection of wine, foodie gifts, homebrew supplies and deli items (oh, did the cheese look fabulous!) And, of course, craft beers.  A sandwich board announced they are ranked 47th in the world for beer selection.
  • Champane’s Wine Cellar & International Marketplace in Warren, MI had a large selection of Michigan beers available, and many other great microbrews at wonderful prices (Derek pointed out Blackout Stout 4-packs at $9.) I chatted with the beer manager, who really wanted our opinion on his fairly recently acquired selection (rumor has it there are between 90 and 150 different beers!) We all agreed it was a great stop!
  • Liquor Stop in Highland, IN was attractive due to its proximity to Three Floyds. And for the beer traveler, knowing that Flossmoor Station isn’t far away probably makes it even more desirable.
  • Siciliano’s Market in Grand Rapids, MI has become a regular stop on our way to Founders. The store is small, but they pack it in! The front of the store features homebrewing supplies, coffee, tea and tobacco. In the back, there is a wide selection of beers, priced singularly with a 10% discount on cases, mixed or not.  It was a huge selection for such a compact space.

This is on my mind because I recently discovered Lew Bryson’s new blog, which I have really been enjoying. Entitled Why The PLCB Should Be Abolished, he explains, “I started this blog to get people in Pennsylvania angry about the PLCB,” with the hope of generating advocacy. That’s a great idea, and bless Lew’s soul if he actually gets enough people so informed as to the many facets of stupidity in our system that they actually begin to advocate for change.

Unfortunately, at least in my area of the world, I find that most people are complacent rule followers. People are either content with the way things are because they can’t imagine life being any different, or they are very aware and unhappy, but unwilling to channel those feelings into political action. This isn’t just true in the world of beer – it’s true with every issue. And as someone who has completely unresponsive legislators, I can understand why it seems easier to do nothing…but that doesn’t make it okay to do nothing.

The thing we need to remember is that the operative word from the acronym PLCB is CONTROL. The Commonwealth has all of the power; the producers and consumers have none. I would love to see a shift where the “C” word is something more like Choice, Competition or Customer-service. Better yet, I’d love to see that acronym disappear from my vocabulary!

Meanwhile, like a stereotypical girl, I’ll look forward to those big out-of-state shopping trips! (Shawan’s, anyone?)

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