PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From your favorite Merlot to the finest Kentucky sippin’ bourbon, prices could be rising on the shelves of your local state store.
And for that matter in the wine aisle of the grocery store as well. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s old fixed pricing formula is gone, and the PLCB now has the authority to negotiate with its suppliers and adjust its prices.
The PLCB’s Elizabeth Brassell says the suppliers have been told the price for their product is going to go up on the shelf, “unless our suppliers of those products offer us lower acquisition cost to avoid the retail price increases.”
Brassell says the price increases affect “the best-selling 150 brands of spirits and best-selling 150 brands of wine.” In other words, probably your favorites.
Terri Beirne with the Wine Institute, which represents the suppliers, says an increase on the retail price is the last thing the suppliers want to see.
“It’s a competitive thing and a consumer pricing thing,” she said. “In a market with such tight margins, higher prices mean lower sales volumes.
“In the vast majority of these changes, the amount of the change would be about a dollar per bottle,” Brassell said.
Beirne says that’s a lot.
“For value products which are $10.99, $12.99, $13.99, that’s a significant price increase,” she said.
But she adds her members are up against a monopoly.
“If you want to sell product in Pennsylvania, you have to sell it through the PLCB,” she said.
Since the grocery stores that sell wine must buy its products from the PLCB, any increase would be seen in the grocery, too.
The suppliers have until Monday to let the state know if they are going to negotiate. The PLCB will then decide bottle by bottle which will see a price increase on the shelf. Those new prices will go into effect at the end of August.