Shopping for whiskey can be very different depending on where you are. The biggest difference you'll see is when states where the government controls retail sales, known as 'control states'. ABC stores in those states are the primary retail outlet and while they can still be package stores in some of those states that are privately owned, they aren't typically - or at least not in Alabama where Mark lived until just a few years ago - competitive because their competition is a state-run, government monopoly. On the plus side of a control state is that, if you can find what you're looking for, it will usually be priced at retail. There seems to be less incentive to push profits than in states where the primary retailers are private individuals and companies. Often though, selections suffer as there also isn't as much incentive to stock hard-to-find products and deal with the silliness that is the modern-day whiskey geek.