Franklin Center President Nicole Neily examines the effectiveness of Act 39 on Pennsylvania liquor reforms in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Op-Ed:
Reform was seriously overdue; Pennsylvania’s government-run liquor monopoly has long been one of the most stringent in the United States, because the state government owns and operates liquor stores (also known as a “control state”). Until Act 39, the state had a near-complete monopoly on all sales of wine and spirits in the state. But as the new rules have been implemented, it’s become increasingly clear that the bill merely tinkered around the edges, to the detriment of consumers.
One of the biggest reforms of Act 39 was allowing limited sales of alcohol outside of the state-owned stores. This was a step in the right direction: In recent years, many states have deregulated their liquor monopolies, introducing market competition. But the move was more symbolic than effective; studies have shown that control states both inhibit choice and raise prices — meaning customers still have a hard time getting smaller and craft brands of their favorite libations.