Pennsylvania Liquor License Economics.

Pennsylvania Liquor License Economics.

A Worthy Investment.

Our founder Ned Sokoloff was quoted in the Trib in 2014 stating that Pennsylvania liquor licenses are considered, “better than gold.” … and he was right!

As of today, every ounce of gold you owned on that day back in July 2014 would have brought you a return of approximately 47%. Replace the equation with a Restaurant liquor license in Allegheny County and your return would be approximately 60% to 76% depending on its municipality. Change that out to the counties surrounding Allegheny and you get: Beaver County- 425% increase, Westmoreland County- 212% increase, Butler County- 80% increase, Washington County- 58% increase. While I am no economist, I think we can all agree that those numbers are larger than that of gold.

I can already hear the critique of my back-of-the-napkin math… it’s an arbitrary time frame. So, let’s just look at the last year and see what kind of returns you could expect from holding certain assets on January 1, 2022 vs. January 1, 2023.

Gold6.14%
S&P 500-19.64%
Allegheny County R Liquor License41.1% to 43.75%
Westmoreland County R Liquor License21.40%
Beaver County R Liquor License13.30%
Butler County R Liquor LicenseFlat

More than Just a Paper Asset: A Revenue Generator

I was recently out at a local restaurant with my wife. We both ordered entrees that cost about $18 each. She had a cocktail that cost $12, and I had a local microbrew that cost $9. The addition of alcoholic beverages increased our ticket by more than 50% and that doesn’t even factor in the gross margin of each item. Again, I am no economist, but I think it is fair to say that the COGS on the burger is higher than the cocktail and beer.

This is an asset that does more than sit in your portfolio, it can actively make returns in the form of “dividends”.

These “dividends” provide additional revenue opportunities to this very specific asset class. Yes, this is not an asset for the everyday investor, but it does provide a unique opportunity for restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores that have the capability to operate as a bona fide operation in the eyes of the PLCB. It’s exclusive and that exclusivity provides “dividends” in addition to the appreciation of the underlying asset.

An Asset that Improves Customer Experience

Work with me here. I buy gas exclusively from Sheetz. Why? Because I can pick up a 4-pack of Toppling Goliath Pseudo Sue (one of my favorite beers) or a bottle of wine (if they have a Wine Expanded Permit!) to pair with dinner. My tastes may be very specific but the benefits do not have to be that granular.

The scenarios described above are more related to C-Stores and Grocery outfits, but the benefits extend to Restaurants as well. A large subset of consumers are not able, whether through time constraints or financial constraints, to visit a Restaurant all that often. These consumers go out to celebrate occasions, gather with friends and family, and to have an experience. Do you want these experience-seekers to patronize a licensed business instead of yours? Not all consumers will be so discriminating, but why would you not cast a larger net? Especially, when the underlying asset that allows you to capture these consumers is better than gold.


Specialty Group is your honest hospitality service provider. When it comes to the restaurant and bar industry, we will give you the information you need, not the information you want to hear. We can take you through the entire life of your business, from purchaselendingliquor license work, success and sale because we care about making the right match. We’ve been doing it since 1986 and our reputation speaks for itself!