Hi Keith! This is Douglas from the phone call earlier today. I’ve been considering a move to Philadelphia to be closer to my parents and maybe start Diploma with a live teacher (as you may know, there still isn’t an in-person Diploma teacher here in Chicago).
I just started a new job in a wine department (think “Whole Something”) and have let my manager know that once I have proven myself in her department, that I would like to be considered for other wine positions, both in Chicago and elsewhere.
Naturally, I am excited for all the Good Wine People in PA who will finally have more wine retail options open to them! How long do you think it will take for Whole Foods and other stores to have fully stocked wine departments? Do you think the Big Players like BevMo and Total Wine will start building around Philadelphia? I definitely want to plant some networking seeds now, before all the good buyer positions get filled!
- Douglas asked 3 years ago
Good to hear from you . Very tricky question! We need to parse this into what is possible now, what will be possible in a year form now, and what the future likely holds. Also, if you are a geek at heart, you may want to read my executive summary of the new PA laws: https://www.vinology.com/new-wine-laws-plcb/
Currently, there are plenty of wine jobs. They are all just outside PA in places like Claymont, DE and Marlton, NJ. Philadelphians both work and shop outside the state. Some folks do work in the PLCB, and that is going nowhere fast. I do have a good overview of getting a job in the PLCB here: https://www.vinology.com/plcb-jobs/ I also include the pros/cons of working for the state.
Now, in the near future, the big jobs are going to be going to people who can figure out the new law and open up wine shops in Philly. That is going to be tough. The law isn’t free market, but it’s got a lot of big gaps which will help the intrepid dreamers. In the next five years, most of the shops will be small boutiques.
I don’t think Total Wine or any of the grocery stores (Whole Paycheck included) are going to go heavy into wine. The wholesale cost will be too high, and the state fees will be exorbitant. Wines will only be stocked as upsell items and ways to draw in customers. They won’t be profit leaders, so there won’t be a big push to expose too much shelf space to wine. It may be very different in the suburbs, where the cost of commercial space is much lower.
The interesting thing is that the legislation doesn’t impose any pricing regulations on the selling of wine. If a grocery store (or wine shop) wanted to sell wine under cost, they could. That may make sense to some grocery stores who would use wine as a loss leader to draw in shoppers from other states.
Right now, it’s hard to predict where things will go, or if another round of legislation will iron out some of these issues.