Most people play the lottery to win vast amounts of money they’d otherwise have a very low probability of acquiring on their own. But some people in Pennsylvania also play it to acquire rare liquor they might not otherwise be able to.
At least that’s what the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has decided they’re going to do starting next week, according to the consumer advocacy site Consumerist.com.
“In recent years, certain products have become very popular among aficionados, enthusiasts and collectors,” said Tim Holden, PLCB chairman, in a statement. “When sold through our traditional online store in the past, the extraordinary demand for these products, which are often sold at prices far below what consumers find in other states, often led to products selling out within only a few minutes.”
The situation Holden is referring to occurred last year when the PLCB implemented a first-come first-serve policy for a shipment of rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. There was so much traffic it crashed the website set up to sell it through.
In Pennsylvania, the state’s LCB controls all liquor stores owned and operated in the state, making it necessary for everyone to go through them to purchase alcohol.
In-state competition is not the only factor for rare-liquor hopefuls either, according to the local NBC affiliate NBCPhiladelphia.com.
“One of the concerns we’ve heard most from Pennsylvania residents and licensees is how folks from other states are able to buy up what vendors allocate to the commonwealth,” said Dale Hurst, PLCB director of marketing and merchandising.
The first lottery will be held on October 13 where 24 bottles of Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection bourbon will be in essence raffled off. In total, 75% of products will be available to the public with 25% set aside specifically for bars and restaurants — as opposed to traditional lotteries, where 25% of jackpots are withheld by the government.
“In order to ensure that all consumers interested in a particular high-demand product have a fair chance to purchase the product, we have developed a lottery system for our most limited products,” Holden said.