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Two Central Pa. liquor licenses among 19 sold in latest PLCB auction

Two major Central Pa. grocery chains were the local high bidders in the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s latest auction of expired liquor licenses.

Sunbury-based Weis Markets Inc. bid $175,320 for a Dauphin County liquor license, the board said in a release on Wednesday.

Middlesex Township-based Giant Food Stores LLC was the highest bidder for a liquor license in Lebanon County at $121,001.

Giant also bid the highest overall for a license in Bucks County at $350,001.

Of the 25 liquor licenses auctioned off by the PLCB in this latest round, the board received 47 total bids for 19 of the licenses. One license each in Armstrong, Cameron, Crawford, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Westmoreland counties received no valid bids by the Aug. 2 deadline. 

The lowest bids in this auction – the sixth in a series authorized in 2016 under a liquor reform law – came in at $25,331 for licenses in Bradford and Clinton counties.

This round’s highest and lowest bids are about the same as winners in the last auction in April. The lowest bid in the April auction came in slightly higher than this round at $25,501. The minimum bid is $25,000.

Only the first auction saw bids break $500,000, and winning bids have fallen since then.

Along with supermarket chains like Weis and Giant, convenience store chains like Sheetz, Rutter’s and Turkey Hill have grabbed up a large part of the licenses auctioned off over nearly the past two years. None of those latter companies was among the winners this round. 

The winning bidders in the auctions have six months from the date their Notice of Selection is issued by the PLCB to submit liquor license applications.

Auction revenue recognized in fiscal year 2016-17 and thus far in 2017-18 totals $21.5 million, while another $4 million remains in escrow, pending license approvals, according to the PLCB.

Becca Oken-Tatum
Becca Oken-Tatum is the web editor for the Central Penn Business Journal. She also coordinates and writes for CPBJ's monthly Young Professionals e-newsletter. Email her questions, comments and tips at [email protected].

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