Bids are now being accepted for expired restaurant liquor licenses in four Central Pennsylvania counties as part of a batch of 50 licenses being auctioned off this summer by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
The PLCB said the 50 licenses will be spread between 40 counties, including two each in Lancaster and York counties and one each in Dauphin and Lebanon counties.
The auction process implements a provision of the state liquor law, known as Act 39, which took effect last summer by expanding retail sales options for beer and wine.
The auction this summer is the third so far. To date, supermarket and convenience-store chains have bought up the bulk of auctioned licenses. Sheetz and Giant have been the most aggressive buyers.
The PLCB awarded 37 licenses in the first auction and 42 in the second.
Bids for the 50 licenses on sale this time are due June 30. Bids will be opened and auction winners will be determined the week of July 3, officials said.
The minimum bid is $25,000 for each license. The highest bidder wins the right to submit an application for the license to the PLCB within six months of auction award.
The auction format tends to favor larger retailers with deep pockets, as top bidders have just 14 days from the date of selection to remit the full bid payment to the PLCB.
The high cost of the licenses in many areas also makes it harder for smaller restaurants and retailers to compete.