PLCB now accepting bids for first auction of expired restaurant licenses

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HARRISBURG, Pa.– The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) today issued an invitation for bids to award 40 expired restaurant licenses in the initial license auction authorized by Act 39 of 2016. This is the first time since Prohibition that a new population of licenses exceeding the existing quota has been made available in Pennsylvania.

This auction includes 40 licenses across 21 counties. Four licenses in Philadelphia and four in Allegheny County are available, while two licenses in each of the following counties are up for auction: Butler, Cameron, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Indiana, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Somerset, Westmoreland, and York. A single license in each of Adams, Blair, Bucks, Centre, Cumberland, and Washington counties is also available. The auction licenses in Adams, Butler, Cameron, and Cumberland counties are the only expired licenses in those counties that qualify to be auctioned off at this time.

Licenses were selected for this auction based on anticipated high demand for licenses in these areas. The initial auction is capped at 40 licenses in order to test and evaluate market reaction, as well as to ensure the PLCB’s Bureau of Licensing can operationally support the timely processing of the transfer applications and related investigations.

A sealed bid process was selected for the first auction so that the auction can be completed fairly and quickly through an established bidding process, as well as to maximize auction revenue. Bids for these 40 licenses are due Thursday, October 27.

Bids will be opened and auction winners will be determined the week of October 31.

The minimum bid for each license is $25,000, and each bid must be accompanied by a $5,000 bid surety intended to avoid frivolous and underfunded bids.

The highest responsive bidder for each license will win the right to submit an application for the license to the PLCB within six months of auction award. If bid payment is not received within two weeks of auction award, the second-highest bidder will have opportunity to apply for the license. Bids will be held in escrow by the PLCB, pending approval of the license application.

Bidders with questions regarding this invitation for bid must submit inquiries via email to by Tuesday, September 27. Questions and answers will be posted to the Department of General Services e-marketplace website by Wednesday, October 5.

Statewide, about 1,200 licenses that have expired since 2000 will be made available through auctions in coming months and years. The PLCB will identify licenses available at each auction as each auction is introduced, in an effort to maintain short- and long-term interest in licenses available through auction.

Methods and timeframes for future auctions will be determined after the first auction is concluded.

The PLCB 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. The PLCB also works to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking through partnerships with schools, community groups and licensees. Taxes and store profits – totaling $15.1 billion since the agency’s inception – are returned to Pennsylvania’s General Fund, which finances Pennsylvania’s schools, health and human services programs, law enforcement, and public safety initiatives, among other important public services. The PLCB also provides financial support for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, other state agencies and local municipalities across the state. For more information about the PLCB, visit

SOURCE: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

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