Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bibere, numerare

So I just can't pass up a Brian O. column on Thursday pouring over some of the routine statistics released by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.  Brian digs into the minutia, and he may have found irrefutable evidence of the Marcellus Shale impact.  It all makes for a great natural experiment we could call it and someone, someday is going to have a dissertation using the rise and anticipated decline in drilling rigs as a basis to study alcohol consumption.  More mundanely it just got me wondering where in the state is the biggest alcohol consumption.

(yeah, I first typed Pittsburgh Liquor Control Board... Freudian slip?   yeah, we need that)
So I took their data by county and just matched it to population to come up with a ranking of sales from the state stores per capita for all Pennsylvania counties and the following is what I begin to come up with.  Where is that old City Paper Go Figure column when you need it?

Total Pennsylvania State Store Sales Per Capita by County, 2010-2011 Retail Year
Top 5, Bottom 5 + Pennsylvania and Philadelphia

Montgomery $225.13
Chester $213.68
Allegheny $191.34
Bucks $191.19
Wayne $190.28
Lehigh $177.01
Monroe $175.10
Cumberland $169.49
Lackawanna $166.03
Centre $162.02
Pennsylvania $139.56
Philadelphia $139.06
Adams $51.38
Armstrong $50.75
Perry $44.92
Fulton $36.73
Juniata $28.89

So no.. we are certainly not the biggest drinkers at least in dollar terms.  I honestly do not know if state store prices are completely consistent across the commonwealth which would impact what these dollar values mean to actual consumption.  Beyond that what's it mean?   Certainly some income effects on top end with the higher income counties spending more per person.  On the low end it is more than income and certainly does not explain why Juniata denizens are such teetotalers.  One issue may be sheer access and Juniata has only a single state store in the entire county.  Probably has something to do with the low sales.   Is a paper for someone to write and create a more complete model of what predicts state store sales in Pennsylvania. I would include income, demographics, distance from a state border crossed with access to major interstate, and density of stores. Throw in some spatial autoregression and we're there!  Someone must have done that somewhere. 

Anyway..  as Brian began to, you could spend all day obsessing on those stats.  Not a bad compilation of data from the state in that report, but it would be nice if they made it available in some other form than just the PDF documents.  So......  I have put the data I transcribed out of the report and the matched population data into this file

I will point out that if you dig into their data... there is a truly astronomical amount of Sake being purchased per capita in Montour County, Pennsylvania...  for reasons that are not apparent to me.  So if there was not some big Japanese Wedding there last year I almost wonder if someone added a zero (or two) by accident in some data stream.  It is that far from the norm.  Works out to an average of $2.69 of Sake per person per year compared to the statewide average of a single penny.


Anonymous MH said...

I was told sake is an acquired taste. Maybe once you acquire it, it is really good.

Saturday, February 25, 2012 8:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not surprised by the counties on the bottom of the list... most of those are very evangelical/mennonite/etc... which explains the low liquor sales.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 1:44:00 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

AFAIK, liquor prices are completely uniform except for a limited number of "outlet" stores near state lines, intended to keep people from crossing over to save $$. I doubt any of these are in Philadelphia, but of course some chunk of Philadelphians presumably buy out of state (it's free to go down I-95 to Delaware, right? Plus no sales tax?).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:57:00 PM  

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