A second round of expired restaurant liquor licenses is now up for grabs, including four licenses in the midstate.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board today said it will auction off 50 expired licenses across 48 counties. In November, the state sold 37 expired licenses.
The auction process implements a provision of the recently changed state liquor law, known as Act 39, which took effect last summer.
According to the PLCB, the second auction will include one license in each of 40 counties that were not represented in the first auction. That includes Lebanon County.
There also will be one license in each of six counties where bids were high in the first auction, including Dauphin, Lancaster and York counties. The other three counties are Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery.
The PLCB said this second auction is intended to “further test and evaluate market reaction while also maximizing auction revenue and preserving the value of existing, non-expired licenses.”
Bids for the 50 licenses are due by Friday, March 3. Bids will be opened and auction winners will be determined the week of March 6.
In the first auction, bigger companies such as Sheetz and Giant Food Stores bought up most of the available licenses.
The high prices are making it harder for independent restaurants to compete in the midstate and other growing areas of Pennsylvania.
Restaurant licenses here can fetch several hundred thousand dollars compared with tens of thousands of dollars in more rural areas of the state.
The highest bid in the first auction was for a license in Cumberland County. Giant Food Stores came in with a bid of $556,000 for an expired license in Carlisle.
The lowest bid was for a license in Somerset County, at $51,500.