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State auctioning 33 expired liquor licenses, includes six in Greater Lehigh Valley

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The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will auction off 33 expired restaurant liquor licenses this fall, adding to the more than 200 it has sold over the last two years.

The board said Monday it will auction one license each in 33 counties, including Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Monroe, Montgomery and Northampton. It is the seventh auction in a process that began in 2016.

To date, the PLCB has sold 210 licenses in auction, which were authorized under the Act 39 liquor reform law in 2016.

Bid prices have fallen off since the first auction, which saw licenses in fast-growing areas such as suburban Philadelphia sell for as much as $556,000. Licenses in smaller and more rural counties often sell near the minimum bid price of $25,000, while some licenses fail to attract any bids.

Last month, the PLCB announced 19 winning bids for 25 available licenses. Giant Food Stores paid the highest prices – $350,001 – for a Bucks County license.

Supermarket and convenience store chains such as Weis Markets and Sheetz have been active at auctions. Giant and Sheetz have been the biggest buyers.

Bids for the current auctions are due by noon Oct. 30. Bids will be opened Nov. 1 and winners will be determined soon after.

The highest bidder wins the right to submit an application for the license to the PLCB within six months of an auction award.

The PLCB said auction revenue recognized from all previous auctions totaled $22.1 million, while another $5.2 million remains in escrow, pending license approvals.



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