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Hurricanes increase wine sales, not kiosks

Hurricanes increase wine sales, not kiosks

Before we get to the hurricane, let’s talk about the wine kiosks…

According to a special performance audit by PA Attorney General Jack Wagner, the Liquor Control Board’s wine kiosk program has fallen short of established goals. Currently there are 22 kiosks operating in supermarkets owned by Giant Eagle, Giant Food Stores, ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer and Shop ‘n Save. Wegmans had several kiosks but recently ended its participation in the program, and Wal-Mart announced last week that they would not install 23 kiosks in its stores, as previously planned.

Wagner’s report states the following:


  • From 1/29/09 through 3/31/11, the kiosks showed net income of $206,060 with total operating costs of $1,131,375.
  • 20 of the 32 kiosks that were operating during the audit period failed to meet the minimum weekly sales threshold.
  • All kiosks had to be shut down in the height of last year’s holiday season due to mechanical and technological malfunctions.
  • 919 malfunctions were reported in a six month period last year, and 118 additional malfunctions were reported in the one-month period after the original malfunctions were repaired.
The report also suggests that the Liquor Control Board (PLCB) “take immediate steps to terminate its contract with Simple Brands LLC of Conshohocken if kiosk operations cannot be modified to meet the originally stated objectives.”
Now, about the hurricane… The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that liquor store sales saw a large spike in the days leading up to Hurricane Irene. According to the PLCB, sales for the week ended Saturday (8/27) were $37 million, which is up $5 million (15%) over the same week a year earlier. Sales for Bacardi’s Hurricane mix? Up 311%.
The sales increase for the two days prior to the hurricane were undoubtedly far greater than the overall weekly increase, although the PLCB only shared the weekly numbers. There are no stats currently available that quantify the aspirin intake on the following mornings.