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PLCB’s online ordering system is down, leaving Pennsylvania bars and restaurants high and dry

The LCB did not know when the system would return. The outage is especially impacting larger bars and restaurants.

The PLCB store at Broad and Washington is not boarded up amid the coronavirus.
The PLCB store at Broad and Washington is not boarded up amid the coronavirus.Read moreChris Brennan

Pennsylvania bars and restaurants cannot order their supplies of wine and spirits online because of a computer outage affecting a number of state departments, including the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

In-person sales at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores continue as normal, but the outage, which began Saturday, is impacting all online ordering, including general ordering, special orders, and the Licensee Online Order Portal (LOOP), a spokesperson for the PLCB said Tuesday.

The PLCB did not know when the system would return. The outage is affecting larger bar and restaurant groups, because they typically buy bottles offered only from the PLCB’s special-order catalog and pick up their large orders from a warehouse. Owners of smaller bars often simply go to a local Fine Wine & Good Spirits and buy their few bottles off the shelves.

Right now, beverage directors said they are scrambling for supplies so they will have inventory for the weekend. Licensees such as bars and restaurants get a 10% discount on their orders with the PLCB, which controls all wine and spirit sales in Pennsylvania.

It’s also slowing up Scott Hockfield, who wants to stock his bar at Morea (110 S. 11th St.), due to open in two weeks. He is unable to order his wine barrels.

Terence Lewis, beverage director for Safran Turney Hospitality, said, “I place my orders a week in advance so I don’t get caught in situations like this.” Buying off the shelf is not a viable option because the wines sold at Safran Turney restaurants including Barbuzzo, Little Nonna’s, and Bud & Marilyn’s are on the special-order list.

“If it’s not up by Thursday, that would crush us,” said Michael DiDomenico of 30 Main, a popular bar-restaurant in Berwyn.

A bill pending in the Pennsylvania Senate, introduced by Tom Killion, a Republican whose district includes Chester and Delaware Counties, would create a self-distribution process for Pennsylvania special-order wine and spirits products that would direct sales outside of the PLCB. That bill was referred Monday to the Law & Justice Committee.

Staff writer Joseph N. DiStefano contributed to this article.