Harrisburg >> The fifth round of bidding is underway for expired restaurant liquor licenses in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Tuesday issued an invitation to bid in the latest auction for the expired licenses.
The latest auction includes 30 expired licenses — one each in 30 Pennsylvania counties including Montgomery, Berks and Delaware.
The invitation to bid is the state’s fifth license auction since Act 39 became affective in August 2016. A total of 165 licenses have been issued in the previous four auctions.
As with each of the preceding auctions, the current auction will use a sealed bid process. Bids are due by noon Thursday, April 19. They will be opened on Friday, April 27, and auction winners will be determined soon thereafter. The minimum bid for each license is $25,000, and each bid must be accompanied by a bid deposit of $5,000 or 5 percent of the total bid amount.
The highest bidder for each license will than have the right to submit an application for the license to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board within six months of the auction award. If bid payment is not received within two weeks of the auction award, the second-highest bidder will have the opportunity to apply for the license. Bids will be held in escrow by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, pending approval of the license application.
In November, the results of the fourth auction were announced. In that auction, two licenses were awarded in Montgomery County — including one in Lower Pottsgrove; two licenses were awarded in Berks County; and one in Delaware County. Bids in that auction ranged from $25,605 to $351,502.
On June 8, 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1690 into law as Act 39 of 2016, which took effect Aug. 8, 2016. One of the provisions of the Act, which changed many of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s responsibilities, was a provision allowing hotel and restaurant license holders (including those with approved interior connections to grocery stores or convenience stores) to apply for permits to sell limited quantities of wine to go.
Bidders with questions about the current auction can submit their questions via email to RA-LBLicenseAuction@pa.gov by noon on Tuesday, March 6. Questions and answers will be posted to the Department of General Services e-marketplace website by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 8.
Lists of winning bids from each of the three previous auctions are available on the license auction page of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board website. Auction revenue recognized in fiscal year 2016-17 and thus far in 2017-18 totals $14.1 million, while another $9 million remains in escrow, pending license approvals according to the agency.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates more than 600 wine and spirits stores statewide and licenses more than 20,000 beverage alcohol producers and retailers. For more information about the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board visit www.lcb.pa.gov.