PLCB In Your Pocket: Liquor Board Introduces New App
Antiquated as the organization may seem at times, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board took a step into the modern world last week when it introduced a new iPhone app – appropriately named Fine Wine & Good Spirits – to the smartphone-toting masses.
Drinks and technology are no strangers. We introduced you to a slew of wine-related apps not too long ago, and we here at Drink Philly are proud to have our own nifty program to help you find the closest happy hour in your time of need. So what does the state’s app have going for it that makes it worth the space on your desktop?
Even if you don’t know exactly what wine you are looking for, the app can find the bottle for you pretty quickly with the well designed product search. Look by varietal or region, then narrow down from selected lists. Deciding I was suddenly in the mood for an Australian shiraz, I was able to get to a list of all the labels available in-store within about 20 seconds.
So I know what I want, but where to find it? I happen to be very, very familiar with my local state store, but if you are in transit to a party or at a friends’ house, you might need a point in the right direction. Using your phone’s GPS, you can find the closest store and all the info you may need about it.
Real-time pricing and inventory
This is what is keeping me from deleting the app after testing. Do you know how many stores I had to visit last Thanksgiving when I made the silly mistake of waiting until the day before to buy the wine? Too many, thank you. Tell the app what you want, and it will tell you how many bottles area stores – or any store you tell it to search – have on the shelves. It will also tell you the price, as well as if it’s on sale. So, if you want, you can price stalk that vintage number you so want to try but so can’t afford.
You can purchase wine through the app, but the process requires a few steps, so isn't best for spur-of-the-moment sprees. You need to be a registered account holder at their website to use the click-to-buy option, plus the purchase is held to the same regulations as a regular online purchase, including the limited list of bottles and shipping hoops to jump through.
Sounds fun and fancy, and it kind of is. Scan the bar code of any bottle and the app will pull up the name, description, price, and reviews. I used it to remember which Cab stashed in my basement was the $15 one and which was the three-figure bottle I’m saving for my anniversary. It could also be handy while dining out to see if the local shops carry your new find, and how much the restaurant just made off your beverage order.
Overall, for being a free app and from a government source, we are impressed enough to keep it around. We may not have a choice in our liquor stores, but do we have one in our apps, so that’s saying something.
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