After failing to crack $200,000 in the last state liquor license auction, buyer interest and winning bid prices picked back up in the latest round.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board on Friday said that 22 of the 25 expired liquor licenses available in the eighth auction were sold, including one in Lebanon County. The highest winning bid in the auction was $276,100 for a license in Bucks County, up from a high of $176,001 for a license in Philadelphia in November.
Tex-Mex restaurant Rey Azteca of Palmyra was the high bidder for the Lebanon County license, bidding $125,000. Altoona-based convenience store chain Sheetz, which has been actively buying up licenses at auction, picked up four licenses. Wawa landed two licenses, while big-box retailer Walmart and supermarket chain Weis Markets each secured one.
Since the state began the auction process in 2016, winning bid prices have mostly fallen. The first auction saw bids break $500,000, but most of the subsequent auctions failed to exceed $350,000 for a high.
As a result, average winning bids have also been dropping.
However, the average rose in the eighth auction to $95,255, jumping up from $73,915 in November. The first auction posted an average winning bid of $212,000.
Three licenses, including one available in Dauphin County, failed to garner any bids in the most recent auction.
The state auctions were authorized under the Act 39 liquor reform law in 2016. Top bidders have 14 days from the date of selection to remit full bid payment to the PLCB. The winning bidders then have six months to submit liquor license applications.