I don't know if this phenomenon existed anywhere except the great State of Alabama, but when I was a kid there were no Liquor Stores. There were State Stores, which were liquor stores run by the State. And they were only located in major cities in wet counties, which were few and far between. Some of the surliest old bastards you've ever seen in your life (imagine Lester Maddox after a digital rectal exam) worked in there.

I didn't think about the revenue at the time, but when State Stores gave way to retail liquor stores, the politicos of my home state must have lost a fortune in future revenue. That probably hurt George Wallace more than being shot.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has just recently made the decision to privitize state stores. Shopping with my mother as a child, I remember our local state store looking something like a cross between a prison and a government office which just happened to have a lot of booze. I remember bottles of odd-colored things on row after row of boring white shelves. The bland store was a real letdown after picking up beer with my dad at the local Soda 'N' Suds. Whereas the beer distributor's place of business exuded themes of manliness and blue-collar mass-consumption of alcohol, the state liquor store seemed like a place where old dweebs could buy wine to sip with their suppers. Heck, I didn't even see any old homeless people in there.

Of course, now I'm in college, and thus obtain alcohol from a different source.

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