By Kevin Murphy (Commentary)
Editor: In a recent editorial by the Guardian (Trouble brews at LCC) I found to be misleading and non-factual. I have been in the liquor business for over 30 years and the brewery business for 15 years and have been watching overall liquor, beer and wine trends both here on P.E.I. as well as other provinces and states.
When the PEILCC embarked on a privatization of some agency stores, it was to better serve Islanders, as well grow overall liquor sales on P.E.I. From the 2013 annual report shows that profits from the PEILCC grew 4.6 per cent from $17,249,000 to $18,054,000. If you compare this to any other jurisdiction in Canada, P.E.I. would be in the top three in the country. With the opening of five new agency stores one would expect the PEILCC stores sales might drop a bit depending on proximity to a new agency store but overall sales would grow. Exactly what happened?
Yes, gross sales were $97,000,000, down from its budget of $102,000,000 but up from 2012 of $95,000,000. It also should be noted that since 2007, PEILCC sales have grown from $70,000,000 to $97,700,000, a very impressive 38 per cent or annual growth of 6.33 per cent. Again, pretty impressive against any other jurisdiction.
The bottom line is, how much money did the PEILCC contribute to general revenue of the province year over year? Well again, a good news story, net contributions went up $1,334,000 from 2012 to 2013.
Another comment in the editorial that the agency stores cost the taxpayers over $500,000, incorrect, yes, sales were down this amount at the PEILCC outlets but when you factor in the new sales at the agency stores sales were up as I mentioned 4.6 per cent or $800,000 and profits up $1,334,000.
On another perspective, the PEILCC has increased its wine listings from 800 to 1,200 in the past six years and have also implemented a wholesale pricing structure for licensees to try and stimulate sales at licensees’ outlets, which have been declining over the past 10 years. They are working with the industry to be proactive and grow sales responsibly.
As a beer producer and liquor licensee on P.E.I. for over 30 years, I have found the present liquor control commission to be very progressive and responsible in growing the liquor business on P.E.I. I have also found them to be compared to other jurisdictions, a leader in their field. We sometimes need to give credit when credit is due.
Murphy Hospitality Group