The Pennsylvania state stores have a hit on their hands.
It's called TableLeaf wines and it's the fifth best-selling chardonnay on the state's wine and spirits store shelves.
In the first year, there were 17,000 cases of 1.5-liter bottles of TableLeaf sold, fifth most among 19 chardonnays sold on state store shelves.
There's only one catch to this success story. The state stores are managed by the taxpayer-funded Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. And TableLeaf has been developed and trademarked by the same PLCB.
Not a problem, you would think at first blush.
Except that it costs taxpayer money to produce this in-house brand of wine.
Why is the state bothering to produce an in-house brand of wine when it already has a monopoly with control of the liquor store system?
What if the state decides to do more of this and the next in-house brand paid for by taxpayers is not as successful?
And is this fair to the rest of the wine industry that invests heavily to stock liquor store shelves with hundreds of other brands?
Of course, none of this should be shocking when the state has arrogantly held onto its management of the liquor store system, one of only two states in the nation that do so. No other state, including Utah, the other state-managed system, has an in-house brand.
So it's not enough to pay for this liquor store system rather than selling it to private interests that would bring a windfall to the state, tax revenue and competition to benefit consumers. We need to pay for the manufacture of an in-house brand to compete with the vintners who are dutifully paying to be on state store shelves.