The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is looking at changing its policies after employees obtained bottles of rare bourbon and other sought of liquor leftover from public lotteries.

Some members of the board and upper-level employees were able to purchase the bottles in 2019 and 2020. Those bottles included Pappy Van Winkle Collection and the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.

The issue is that the public was never given the chance to buy these bottles according to PennLive and the Philadelphia Inquirer report.

Michael Negra, a board member, said that the purchases did not violate the state’s Ethics Act. “(Negra) obtained information not obtainable from reviewing a public document or making an inquiry to a publicly available source of information as a result of his public position, and used that information to purchase alcohol that was limited in quantity and not available to the public, due to insufficient clear and convincing evidence of a pecuniary benefit.”

Board members and Negra were found in violation of not reporting all income in their Statements of Financial Interest from 2018 to 2020.

The commission ruled that Negra, board members, and other upper-level employees may not purchase liquor from the PCLB outside of the process by which a Commonwealth resident may purchase such items.

We will see if the PCLB changes the auction policy in the near future. Bourbon has become a big investment opportunity for collectors. As some bottles have sold on the secondary market well over MSRP.

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