Pennsylvania Awarded Itself $127,500 In Tax Dollars To Promote Craft Beer…Here's How It Was Spent

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,997) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    $127,500 =
  2. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (125) Mar 15, 2014 California

    I got lost at "awarded itself." Is that another way of saying "allocated taxpayer funds?" How is it an award? I need a beer.
  3. highlyhopped

    highlyhopped Initiate (123) Sep 2, 2002 Pennsylvania

    When it comes to alcohol, this state is an embarrassment. Regarding beer some of the worst laws have been repealed but other bad ones remain on the books. My favorite kind of beer is imported Bavarian weissbiers but the selection of these in the state is very limited, thanks in part to the stupid case law that we used to have, that favored 24x12oz cases over 20x500ml cases. I have to drive to Ohio to get my favorite beer, Andechs Hefe Weissbier Hell (an hour drive each way from Pittsburgh, but worth it).

    Regarding wine and liquor the situation is much worse, with an abomination known as the PLCB (a state agency), actually running the retail sale of wine an liquor. Yes, the cashiers and people who stock the shelves in the liquor stores here are state employees. I totally boycott their stores and either make my own wine, buy it directly from the winery, or go out of state like I do for some beer.

    And yeah, the state government is corrupt and wastes money.
  4. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,731) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Every state does tourism marketing, and I can’t say that this is any worse than what I’ve seen elsewhere.

    IMO, money for schools and public transportation and what-not is more important than trying to attract tourist dollars, but maybe the advertising actually does pay for itself in the long run by bringing in people who spend here and pay sales tax?

    We should pay some company $100k in tax dollars to audit that for us.
    Shanex and beertunes like this.
  5. AnthonyKolka

    AnthonyKolka Initiate (41) Oct 9, 2018 Michigan

    As a person who develops web applications for a living I can say that this seems very wrong. Someone was just collecting that money. The spend is way out of proportion to what is presented.
  6. craigbelly

    craigbelly Champion (829) Dec 31, 2015 Iowa

    What a joke. The Iowa Alcohol division once gave themselves and week vacation in Las Vegas and million dollar renovated office. Capone was less corrupt.
  7. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,731) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Two things to consider...

    (1) The article suggests some of that money went to ad buys. Could have been $90, could have been $90,000. Hard to make a judgement on whether the state was overcharged for the website without knowing how much was spent on the site.

    (2) For the site itself, we don’t know what the state’s parameters were for building it. Did they give the company carte blanche on which breweries to promote? Or was there a process where they had to consult with each county’s tourism board to get nominations (which is obviously a lot more time-consuming)? And how many people had to sign off on the copy for each listing? Just one person for everything, or different people for each one?
    #7 thebeers, Nov 6, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
  8. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Defender (689) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    Politicians using hard earned tax payer dollars in an inefficient manner?!!!!! Oh wait, that's just our government...

    If I were governor (and I'm not), I would have leveraged Goose Island (they have a Philly brewhouse) and Yuengling to pony up the money for the state craft beer campaign and forced inclusion of all 300+ of the states breweries. Sure, GI and Yuengling could have prominent placement on the site in exchange for funding it, but it would have benefited everyone and not a select 25 breweries. Politicians who can't think outside the box and leverage the private sector to promote their own joint goals aren't worthy of office.

    Or just put a quarter tax on all beer sold in PA to pay for it....:grin:
    dukeandduke likes this.
  9. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (378) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    From the original source
    A state office (the PLCB) awarded a grant to another state office (the Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Tourism Office) so the tourism office wouldn't have to use their own budgeted money to support tourism.
  10. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (378) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    The worst thing is that it's boring. The brewery and beer tour blurbs are uninspired and do nothing to make me want to spend my vacation time exploring PA craft beer.
  11. PABrewReview

    PABrewReview Initiate (136) Apr 30, 2019 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    It's true that there are a lot of ways that money can be spent which don't show on the consumer-facing side of things. But failing to include literally 90% of the breweries in the state is hard to get past.

    For reference, we received a grant of about $39,000 from the same program. We've spent about $7,000 of it so far. And we list 300+ breweries, across 421 brewery locations, with 173 more that are pending.
    jmdrpi likes this.
  12. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,731) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    That’s a nice map
  13. PABrewReview

    PABrewReview Initiate (136) Apr 30, 2019 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Thanks. We work hard on it, which is why we tend to side with Breweries in PA about getting a bit riled up that the recipients of the $127K grant didn't seem interested in working hard on theirs.
  14. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (983) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I don't have to go to Pennsylvania to explore craft beer, but if I did I would likely hang around the Philadelphia area. But I have great affinity for Weyerbacher, having sold the brand for years. Another sad story. I used to sell huge amounts of Iron City to the diaspora of Pittsburgers patronizing Steeler bars across North Carolina. Beer does make people act in peculiar ways. No state has any monopoly over any type of corruption.
    officerbill likes this.
  15. islay

    islay Aspirant (294) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    The best thing a state can do to "promote" craft beer is to get out of breweries' and consumers' way by reducing or eliminating some of the many inane, antiquated restrictions and outsized taxes on commerce involving alcoholic beverages that plague every state to one degree or another. Overregulation and then picking of winners and losers by government agencies (as, in this case, by spending taxpayer dollars to promote some breweries and not others) exemplifies bloated bureaucracy at its worst, eagerly invites corruption, and on the net significantly impedes growth in the intervened-upon sector, to the detriment of all parties affected besides perhaps the direct beneficiaries of the spending (the subsidized businesses as well as government employees and contractors).
    PABrewReview and officerbill like this.
  16. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (459) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    While Voodoo has a location in Erie, it should be noted that they are based in Meadville.

    Also always loved seeing ‘’ on my home state’s license plate instead of something stupid like ‘Keystone State’ :wink:
    PABrewReview likes this.
  17. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (888) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Sounds like an awful waste, but $127,000 is a drop in the bucket of the state budget. I'm sure we could find much worse examples of gov't waste. The only thing I can hope is that since this was a new program maybe it was needed "investment" to get things off the ground but poorly categorized. If you think about it, the $127,000 is could be mostly the salary and benefits for a full or part-time employee to run the program. Not good, but could be worse...

    FWIW, I came from a state where a very significant portion of its revenue was through tourism. Those tourism dollars also helped make money for the schools because the resort towns had by far the best funded and best performing schools in the state.* So, those policies and goals can definitely be linked together... like the rising tide that raises all ships.

    * - But they grapple with tourism being concentrated in a handful of towns that get the lionshare of the tourism money [and better funded schools, roads, etc.] while neighboring towns see little of it and still struggle. The local politics can get ugly. The trick is making a large region tourist-friendly to benefit everyone.